Essar-Loop case: Court allows Ravi Ruia to travel

Essar-Loop case: Court allows Ravi Ruia to travel
Essar-Loop case: Court allows Ravi Ruia to travel

Essar Group promoter Ravi Ruia, facing trial in a case arising out of the probe into the 2G spectrum scam, has been allowed by a special court to travel abroad after the CBI did not object to his plea.

Ruia had sought court’s permission to travel to Phuket in Thailand from November 19 to 23 to attend a marriage ceremony in his family.

The court allowed his plea observing that Ruia has earlier been permitted to travel abroad on numerous occasions and has complied with all the conditions imposed upon him.

“In view of the fact that applicant/accused (Ruia) has been permitted to travel abroad on numerous occasions during the past three years and he complied with all the conditions that were imposed upon him by this court, I am inclined to allow the prayer of the accused visiting Phuket with effect from November 19 to 23,” Special CBI Judge O P Saini said.

During the hearing on the plea, the CBI said it was not opposing his plea.

Essar Group promoters Ravi Ruia and Anshuman Ruia, Loop Telecom promoters, Kiran Khaitan, her husband I P Khaitan and Essar Group Director (Strategy and Planning) Vikash Saraf are facing trial in the case, along with three telecom firms – Loop Telecom Ltd (LTL), Loop Mobile India Ltd and Essar Tele Holding Ltd (ETHL).

The five individual accused, who are out on bail, have denied all charges levelled by CBI.

On May 25, 2012, the court had framed charges against all the accused under section 120-B (criminal conspiracy) read with section 420 (cheating) of the IPC, while the substantial charge of cheating was made out against Saraf only.

The court is presently hearing final arguments in the case.

( Source – PTI )

LTL wants spl court to commit mistake and violate SC order: CBI

CBI today opposed the plea of Loop Telecom Ltd (LTL), facing trial in a case arising out of probe into 2G scam, for referring the matter to Lok Adalat, saying the accused want the special court to commit a “mistake” by passing an order in violation of the Supreme Court directive.

CBI argued that LTL, whose similar petition was dismissed by the court in March last year, has again filed the plea in the special court which cannot review its earlier order on the issue.

“This court has already passed an order on the issue and it cannot review it,” Senior public prosecutor K K Goel told Special CBI Judge O P Saini.

The prosecutor further said, “Why they (accused) are not going to Supreme Court on this issue? Why they want this court to commit a mistake or pass an illegal order?”

CBI argued that apex court had categorically ordered that only the special court would hear matters of 2G spectrum scam and “if this court will write in its order that the matter is referred to the Lok Adalat, then it will be a violation of the Supreme Court’s order.”

During the arguments, senior advocate S V Raju, appearing for LTL, argued that chances of arriving at a settlement was there as the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has not said that they do not want to settle the issue.

“DoT is saying they are not a party to the case. DoT is not saying they do not want to settle or compound…Chances of settlement are there as DoT has said that they will abide by what the court will decide,” he said.

Raju further said that LTL has already given a “concrete proposal” to DoT for settlement and the alleged offences, for which the firm is facing trial, were compoundable.

The court has reserved its order for March 12 on the plea filed by LTL and co-accused Vikash Saraf, Essar Group Director (Strategy and Planning) who are facing trial along with others including promoters of Essar Group, Ravi Ruia and Anshuman Ruia, Loop promoters Kiran Khaitan, her husband I P Khaitan.

The court also said that it would hear final arguments in the case from April 1.

Lok Adalat is an alternative dispute resolution mechanism by which parties involved in civil and compoundable criminal cases try to arrive at a compromise to settle their case.

Aircel-Maxis case: SC recalls order asking Marans to move Delhi HC

The court had earlier refused to entertain the plea of the former Telecom Minister and his brother and said they could approach the Delhi High Court against the 2G court order summoning them as accused.
The Supreme Court on Friday recalled its order refusing to entertain the petitions of former Telecom Minister Dayanidhi Maran and his brother Aircel-Maxis caseto quash summons in the Aircel-Maxis case by a special court trying the 2G spectrum scandal. The Centre objected to the hearing in the morning and said another bench led by CJI H.L.Dattu is already hearing all matters related to spectrum cases. The development came a couple of hours after the bench headed by Justice V. Gopala Gowda refused to hear the Maran brothers.

Just before the bench comprising Justices Gowda and R. Banumathi was about to rise for the lunch break, Additional Solicitor-General (ASG) Pinky Anand mentioned on behalf of the CBI that all matters arising out of the 2G spectrum scam probe were being heard by a bench headed by Chief Justice of India.

The ASG said there is a specific order of the apex court that any matter arising out of the 2G spectrum case has to be heard by it and no other court in the country shall entertain it.

Taking on record the submission of the ASG, the bench recalled its order and posted it before the bench headed by Justice Dattu on February 9, 2015.

Earlier in the day, the court refused to entertain the plea of the former Telecom Minister and his brother, saying they could approach the Delhi High Court against the trial court order summoning them as accused.

The bench said it was not inclined to interfere in the matter which has arisen out of the 2G spectrum allocation scam probe.

“You have to exhaust your remedy under Article 226 of the Constitution and then come here. We don’t see any issue of fundamental jurisdiction here. If we say anything, every person will come here saying their fundamental right is violated.

“We cannot interfere as the charge sheet has already been filed. If there is no case against you (Marans), then you can ask for a discharge,” the bench said after which Marans withdrew their petition.

During the hearing, senior advocate C.A. Sundaram, appearing for Dayanidhi Maran, said that this case is not related to 2G spectrum allocation scam probe and that not a single licence was allotted by him during his tenure as telecom minister.

On October 29 last year, a special 2G court had summoned Maran brothers and six others, including Malaysian business tycoon T Ananda Krishnan as accused in the Aircel-Maxis deal case.

The Special CBI court had directed them to appear before it on March 2, 2015 after taking cognisance of the charge sheet filed against eight accused including four companies — Sun Direct TV Pvt Ltd, Maxis Communication Berhad, Astro All Asia Network PLC and South Asia Entertainment Holding Ltd.

The CBI had said in court that Dayanidhi Maran had “pressured” and “forced” Chennai-based telecom promoter C. Sivasankaran to sell his stakes in Aircel and two subsidiary firms to Malaysian firm Maxis Group in 2006.

‘Not within province to complain about DoT’s wrong’

Attorney General G E Vahanvati told a Delhi court that it was not within his “province” to file a complaint with regard to anything wrong in the DoT’s press release for issuance of LoIs for 2G spectrum as it was upto the department to issue the statement.

Vahanvati, who was deposing as a prosecution witness in 2G spectrum allocation scam case, said he was only supposed to give his opinion on the draft press release as sought by the Department of Telecom (DoT) and it was not for him to tell the department as to “what they did was wrong”.

“First of all, I was required to give an opinion. There was no question of my recording that the press release was wrongly issued or that there was scoring off, because as I have explained above even if I had seen a draft in a particular form, it was open to them to issue press release in whatever manner they (DoT) decided.

“It was not within my province to record any complaint in this behalf in the file or otherwise,” Vahanvati told Special CBI Judge O P Saini during his cross examination by advocate Vijay Aggarwal, appearing for former Telecom Minister A Raja’s erstwhile private secretary R K Chandolia.

Concluding his two-day deposition, Vahanvati, who was the Solicitor General when the alleged scam had broken out, agreed that the DoT file containing the altered press release as well as the actual one was again sent to him on February 29, 2008 for his opinion but “when the file came to me, I had seen the draft press release in a particular form and this did not mean that after I gave my view, DoT could not alter the press note.

“If they did, it was for them to do so. It was not for me to tell them as to what they did was wrong. I only answered the question as to what I saw on January 7, 2008.”

Vahanvati’s statement assumes significance as the CBI, in its charge sheet, has alleged that Raja, in conspiracy with co-accused and former Telecom Secretary Siddharth Behura, had “fraudulently portrayed” to the DoT that the amended draft of the press release regarding issuance of letters of intent (LoIs) to the telecom firms had the consent of the then Solicitor General Vahanvati.

 

PTI

Court reserves order for Jan 30 on comp against PM

An order of Delhi High court has been reserved for January on a complaint seeking registration of an FIR against Prime MinisterManmohan Singh and former Telecom Minister Dayanidhi Maran for their alleged role in the 2G scam.

According to the Special Judge Sangita Dhingra Sehgal after hearing the arguments from the CBI as well as the complainant Vivek Garg, “Arguments have been heard. Put up for order on January 30.”

During the arguments, Additional Solicitor General Mohan Parasaran told the court that the complaint should have been filed before the Special Court constituted exclusively to deal with all the cases and matters pertaining to 2G spectrum scam.

He said, “The complainant (Garg) should move the special court. The present complaint, filed before any other court except the special court is not maintainable. This court may direct this matter to be placed before the special court.”

Garg, who in his complaint has accused the Prime Minister and Maran of “unlawfully changing and diluting” the original Terms of References (ToRs) for vacation and reallocation of spectrum leading to the 2G scam, told the court that first the CBI should lodge an FIR and then further proceedings can be done in the special court.

Garg also filed his reply in response to the CBI’s status report submitted in the court earlier and sought initiation of action against the agency for filing a “misleading” report.

The CBI had earlier told the court that Garg’s complaint has been merged with the FIR already registered by it against Maran and others in October 2011.

Garg had earlier sent a complaint to the CBI and also to the Anti-Corruption Branch of Delhi government, before moving the court.

2G: CBI given time to reply on Chandolia’s appeal in Supreme Court

The Supreme Court Friday granted time to the CBI to file its reply to an appeal by 2G case accused R.K. Chandolia, a former aide of ex-telecom minister A. Raja, challenging the Delhi High Court order that put his bail on hold.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) was also granted time to file its reply on the bail plea of former telecom secretary Siddharth Behura, also accused in the multi-crore rupee 2G spectrum scam.

The apex court bench headed by Justice G.S. Singhvi said its interim order will continue suspending the Delhi High Court’s direction of putting Chandolia’s bail on hold.

Chandolia was granted bail by the special CBI court, but the Delhi High Court stayed it the next day taking note of a newspaper report on bail granted to him. However, Chandolia had already walked out of jail, and the high court said that its direction putting on hold the CBI court order will not be made effective if he was already set free.The matter will come up for hearing March 13.

 

 

2G: Supreme court notice to CBI on Behura’s bail

The Supreme Court Monday issued notice to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on a bail plea by former telecom secretary Siddharth Behura, accused in the multi-crore 2G spectrum scam.

An apex court bench headed by Justice G.S. Singhvi issued notice on Behura’s plea challenging the Delhi High Court order by which his petition for bail was dismissed last month.

Behura, along with former telecom minister A. Raja and his former secretary R.K. Chandolia, were arrested Feb 2, 2011 in the 2G spectrum case.

 

 

We did not oppose Kanimozhi’s bail: CBI

Even as the Supreme Court Tuesday reserved orders on the bail pleas of five top corporate honchos in the 2G spectrum scam, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) said it did not oppose the bail petitions of DMK MP Kanimozhi and four others earlier before the trial court.

 Appearing for CBI, Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Harin Raval told Justice G.S. Singhvi and Justice H.L. Dattu that the concession given to Kanimozhi and four others was not available to other accused.

 The investigating agency opposed the bail plea of former telecom secretary Siddharth Behura even though he sought the same concession, the ASG said.

 Special public prosecutor U.U. Lalit told the CBI special court Judge O.P. Saini that it should decide the bail plea of Kanimozhi and four others independent of the fact that it was not opposed by the investigating agency, Raval told the supreme court.

 The four others are the promoters of Kusegaon Fruits and Vegetables Asif Balwa and Rajeev B. Agarwal, Cineyug Film’s Karim Morani and Kalaignar TV’s Managing Director Sharad Kumar.

 Raval said this in response to the court’s query Monday, seeking to know if the CBI had not opposed the bail plea of Kanimozhi and four others before Judge Saini Oct 24.

The court made its query in the wake of a statement by senior counsel Ram Jethmalani that the investigating agency had not opposed the bail plea of Kanimozhi and four others before the trial court.

 The special court reserved its order on their bail applications for Nov 3.

 Raval told the court that he has twice spoken to Lalit, leading the CBI case before Judge Saini, on the matter.

Lalit gave the reasons why the concession was made, Raval said.

 If the court so desired, the reasons could be disclosed, Raval added.

 Justice Singhvi said that it was the absolute discretion of CBI and the special public prosecutor to submit before the trial court.

 After Raval’s statement, Jethmalani told the court that it should pronounce operative part of its order on the bail pleas as it would “help in mitigating the sufferings” of the accused.

The court also expressed its “serious anguish” over the distorted reporting of its Monday’s proceedings by a section of the media.

 

2G scam: Kanimozhi and Sharad Kumar move court for bail

DMK MP Kanimozhi and Kalaignar TV chief Sharad Kumar, named as co-conspirators in the 2G spectrum scam, Friday filed a fresh bail plea before a special CBI court here after being denied bail earlier.

 The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) special Judge O.P. Saini had sent Kanimozhi and Sharad Kumar to Tihar Jail after dismissing their bail applications May 20.

 They had subsequently approached the Delhi High Court which June 8 dismissed their bail applications.

 The duo later filed a special leave petition before the Supreme court, which was dismissed with a common order June 20. But the two were given liberty to file fresh bail applications under section 439 of the Code of Criminal Procedure before the special court after framing of charges.

 The apex court had stated that the trial court hearing the case will decide on their fresh bail applications after framing of charges, without being influenced by rejection of the earlier applications.

 

The duo approached the special CBI court of Judge O.P. Saini Friday with fresh bail applications citing this Supreme Court order. The special court will hear the bail plea Oct 1.

The bail application contended that the case against the petitioners was “based on no evidence” and was “hence false and baseless”. “The petitioners are innocent and… implicated in the present case due to biased media reporting and on the basis of conjectures and surmises,” it said.

 Kanimozhi and Sharad Kumar are represented by lawyers V.G. Pragasam, S.J. Aristotle and Sudarshan Rajan.

 The 2G spectrum scam relates to irregularities in the allocation of airwaves to telecom companies that caused huge losses to the exchequer.

Accused says CBI tampering with 2G evidence

The Supreme Court was told by an accused in the 2G case Tuesday that the Central Bureau of Investigation was tampering with evidence by asking the telecom regulator to revisit its opinion that the precise value of the spectrum, if it had been auctioned, could not be arrived at.

Senior counsel Ram Jethmalani told an apex court bench of Justice G.S. Singhvi and Justice H.L. Dattu that “your (CBI) intended correspondence so that TRAI (Telecom Regulatory Authority of India) should change its opinion amounts to tampering with evidence – a habit we (his client) are totally free of”.

Jethmalani was arguing on the bail plea of Unitech’s Sanjay Chandra. The court was hearing a plea by Chandra and Vinod Goenka of Swan Telecom challenging the Delhi High Court’s May 23 verdict rejecting their bail applications.

As Jethmalani told the court that “if they (CBI) don’t want to rely on a piece of evidence as it does not suit them, it is entirely up to them. But the disclosure (of that evidence) must be made”, Additional Solicitor General Harin Raval gave the copy of TRAI’s opinion to the court and the petitioner’s counsel.

Senior counsel told the court that normally the apex court did not interfere with the high court’s findings in bail matters, but if “there is grave, blatant and atrocious miscarriage of justice and raises important question of law” then the apex court may interfere with it.

The court was told that Chandra had cooperated and made himself available to the investigating agency as and when it asked him to. The court was told that in one instance when Chandra was abroad and was required by the investigating agency, he cut short his visit and came back to India.

Describing the high court judgment as “wonderful”, Jethmalani said that the fact that his client was not arrested by the investigating agency was held against him (in the high court) as his being “very influential”.

Referring to certain media reports, the court said: “Irrespective of the dignity of any person in the society, leave aside those who are accused in the case, they are assassinated in the society.”