2G money laundering case: Court grants bail to Dayalu Ammal

Dayalu AmmalA Delhi court today granted bail to DMK supremo M Karunanidhi’s wife Dayalu Ammal, who along with others including former Telecom Minister A Raja, was chargesheeted by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in a 2G scam-related money laundering case.

Special CBI Judge O P Saini allowed the bail plea of 83-year-old Ammal on a personal bond of Rs five lakh with two sureties of the like amount.

The court, however, dismissed the plea of Ammal seeking discharge in the case on the ground that she was not well and was suffering from unsoundness of mind.

It asked Ammal’s counsel to furnish the bail bond within two days.

The judge, who was also scheduled to pass the verdict on the bail pleas of other nine accused today, said that the order was not ready yet.

The court said it would pass the order at 2.30 PM today. On August 6, the court had deferred for today its order on the bail pleas of former Telecom Minister Raja, DMK MP Kanimozhi and others who were chargesheeted by the ED in this case.

ED had chargesheeted 19 accused — 10 individuals and nine firms — in the case saying that the transaction of Rs 200 crore, which was allegedly paid to DMK-run Kalaignar TV, was “not genuine” and it was a “bribe for grant of telecom licences to DB Group companies”.

Ammal was holding 60 per cent stake in Kalaignar TV while Kanimozhi and Sharad Kumar were holding 20 per cent stake each, the agency had said.

The agency had also claimed that its probe into the case emanates from 2G spectrum allocation scam and the accused had allegedly conspired and committed offences under provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).

Besides Raja and Kanimozhi, ED had named Swan Telecom promoters Shahid Usman Balwa and Vinod Goenka, Directors of Kusegaon Fruits and Vegetables Pvt Ltd Asif Balwa and Rajiv Agarwal, Kalaignar TV MD Sharad Kumar, Bollywood producer Karim Morani, Ammal and P Amirtham as accused in the case.

During the arguments on the bail pleas, the ED had argued that the accused had committed the offence of money laundering punishable under the provisions of PMLA.

The defence counsel, however, had opposed the ED’s claims contending that the charge sheet filed by the probe agency was “contradictory” and the transfer of Rs 200 crore to Kalaignar TV was a “prudent business transaction”.

On the ED’s allegation that the reverse trail of Rs 200 crore from Kalaignar TV to the DB group company commenced after Raja was summoned by the CBI in December 2010 for interrogation in the 2G scam case, the defence counsel had argued that most of the money given to the TV channel was refunded before it.

Raja, Kanimozhi, Shahid Balwa, Vinod Goenka, Asif Balwa, Rajiv Agarwal, Karim Morani and Sharad Kumar are also facing trial in the 2G spectrum allocation case in which the CBI had earlier filed charge sheets.

(Source: PTI)

Not committed any wrongdoing: Ravi Ruia to court

2gEssar Group promoter Ravi Ruia, facing trial in a case arising out of the investigation into the 2G spectrum allocation scam, today told a Delhi court that he had not committed any wrongdoing and many facts were not properly probed by CBI.

Deposing before Special CBI Judge O P Saini, Ruia alleged that the telecom business is highly competitive and some of the prosecution witnesses, who had recorded their statements before the court, might have been influenced by rival firms.

Ruia also claimed that clause 8 of unified access service licence (UASL), which according to CBI was violated by the accused facing trial in the case, was misunderstood and many of the facts were not appreciated during the probe. He also alleged that he had no knowledge of the day-to-day functioning of Loop Telecom Ltd, one of the accused firm in the case.

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 firms Loop Telecom Ltd, Loop Mobile India Ltd and Essar Tele Holding Ltd.

CBI, in its charge sheet, had alleged that promoters of Essar Group and Loop Telecom had deliberately violated UASL guidelines by making “false and dishonest impression” before Department of Telecommunication (DoT) to get the 2G spectrum.

During the day’s proceedings, the court also concluded the recording of statements of Kiran Khaitan and Anshuman Ruia. Kiran Khaitan told the court that she was only a housewife and not aware of the functioning of Loop Telecom. She also said she was shocked that a case was made against her and told the judge that no prosecution witnesses had deposed against her in particular. The court also commenced the recording of the statement of I P Khaitan which will continue tomorrow.

(Source: PTI)

2G case: Recording of accused’s statement fixed for March 3

ccA special court hearing the second generation (2G) spectrum case Monday fixed March 3 for recording of statement of the accused, including of former union communications minister A. Raja.

The special court of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) judge O.P. Saini will March 3 start recording the statements of Raja and DMK MP Kanimozhi, who are accused in the case.

The court Nov 27 concluded recording of statements of 153 people running into 4,400 pages, who were examined as prosecution witnesses. It had earlier scheduled Jan 20 for commencement of recording of statements of accused, but since questionnaires were not ready, more time was sought.

Attorney General G.E. Vahanvati; former additional private secretary to Raja, Aseervatham Achary; Telecom Regulatory Authority of India ex-chairman Nripendra Misra; former Indian corporate lobbyist Niira Radia; former deputy director general (access services), Department of Telecommunication A.K. Srivastava; former Reserve Bank of India (RBI) govenor D. Subbarao; DMK chief M. Karunanidhi’s wife Dayalu Ammal; Reliance Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group chairman Anil Ambani and his wife Tina Ambani were among the CBI witnesses who deposed before the court.

The court Nov 11, 2011 started the daily trial, after accepting the CBI plea and framing graft and other charges against 17 accused, including Raja and DMK MP Kanimozhi.
The special court was set up last year on the direction of the Supreme Court.

According to the government auditor, Raja was biased while distributing 2G mobile airwaves and operating licences to telecom firms, causing a loss of up to Rs.1.76 lakh crore in revenue to the treasury.
All the accused, including Raja, are out on bail.

(Source: IANS)

2G: Court dismisses complaint against PM, Maran

Garg in his complaint had alleged that the Prime Minister and Maran had “unlawfully changed and diluted” the original Terms of References (ToRs) for vacation and reallocation of spectrum leading to the 2G scam.

A Delhi court today dismissed a plea seeking lodging of an FIR against Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and former Telecom Minister Dayanidhi Maran for their alleged role in the 2G case.

Special CBI Judge O P Saini dismissed the plea and also imposed a cost of Rs 20,000 on petitioner Vivek Garg, an RTI activist, saying he had filed the application to “seek cheap publicity and to waste the time of the court.” “In view of the reasons stated above, I am satisfied that applicant (Garg) is not in possession of any evidence at all, but has filed the instant application against Dr Manmohan Singh, Prime Minister, Dayanidhi Maran and others in order to seek cheap publicity and to waste time of the court,” the judge said and directed Garg to deposit Rs 20,000 as cost within seven days.

The court said that Garg’s application “deserves to be dismissed with heavy cost” as he is not having any “real evidence” in his possession.

Garg, in his plea, had sought a direction to the CBI to file a status report on its investigation till date in the case filed against Maran in the 2G scam.

He had also sought a direction to the CBI to file a report as to whether the documents, on the basis of which an FIR was lodged against Maran, were the same which he had filed along with his application.

He had also said that if the contents of the CBI’s FIR is different than his complaint, then the agency be directed by the court to register a fresh or separate FIR against Manmohan Singh, Maran and others.

Garg in his complaint had alleged that the Prime Minister and Maran had “unlawfully changed and diluted” the original Terms of References (ToRs) for vacation and reallocation of spectrum leading to the 2G scam.

Earlier Garg had approached another Delhi court with the same complaint but the judge had dismissed it on the ground that as the matter pertains to 2G scam, it should be heard by the special 2G court.

(Source: PTI)

Mittal, Ruia appear in Delhi court in a 2G spectrum case

Bharti CMD Sunil Mittal and Essar group promoter Ravi Ruia today appeared in a Delhi court which posted the matter for further proceedings on April 16.

Sunil Mittal and Ravi Ruia have been summoned as accused in the additional 2G spectrum allocation case.

Mittal’s counsel placed before special CBI judge O P Saini the order passed by the Supreme Court postponing till April 16 the proceedings in the case.

Besides Mittal and Ruia, former Telecom Secretary Shyamal Ghosh, who was summoned by the special CBI judge, also appeared in pursuance to the summons issued against him.

The court, after going through the apex court’s order on separate petitions filed by Mittal and Ruia, listed the matter on April 16 for further proceedings. The apex court will hear their pleas on April 15.

The special court had on March 19 summoned Mittal, Ruia, who was then a Director in one of the accused companies Sterling Cellular Ltd and Asim Ghosh, the then Managing Director of accused firm Hutchison Max Telecom Pvt Ltd.

Their names were not mentioned in the charge sheet filed by CBI on December 21, last year in the case.

Besides the three, the court had also summoned as accused Shyamal Ghosh and three telecom firms Bharti Cellular Ltd, Hutchison Max Telecom Pvt Ltd (now known as Vodafone India Ltd) and Sterling Cellular Ltd (now known as Vodafone Mobile Service Ltd).

The three telecom firms were represented by their counsel in the court today.

CBI, in its charge sheet, had named the three telecom companies as accused in the case relating to the Department of Telecommunication allocating additional spectrum which had allegedly resulted in a loss of Rs 846 crore to the exchequer.

During the proceedings, the court was told that the summons against Canada-based NRI Asim Ghosh had “remained unserved”.

Ruia had moved the apex court a day after it had postponed till April 16 the proceedings in the special CBI court against Mittal.

When CBI had opposed the plea of Mittal in the Supreme Court saying evidence has been found against him during investigation in the case, the apex court had questioned the probe agency as to why he was not named in the charge sheet.

CBI had filed the charge sheet on December 21 last year against former Telecom Secretary Shyamal Ghosh and three telecom firms — Bharti Cellular Ltd, Hutchison Max Telecom Pvt Ltd (now known as Vodafone India Ltd) and Sterling Cellular Ltd (now known as Vodafone Mobile Service Ltd).

Though Mittal, Ruia and Asim Ghosh were not mentioned in CBI’s charge sheet as accused, the special court in its order had said it was taking cognisance of the case and issuing summons to all the seven accused, including them, for April 11.

The special court had said that Mittal, Ruia and Asim Ghosh were “prima facie” in “control of affairs” of their respective companies which were charge sheeted by CBI for offences of criminal conspiracy (Sec 120-B) under the IPC and under provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act.

SC to hear pleas of Sunil Mittal, Airtel tomorrow

Bharti Airtel’s plea challenging the Delhi High Court order giving its nod to the Centre’s decision holding the 3G roaming pact of the telecom major as illegal will be hear by the bench headed by Chief Justice Altamas Kabir.

The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) on March 15 had issued a notification restraining Bharti from providing 3G intra-circle roaming facilities in seven circles where it did not have the spectrum and also levied a penalty of Rs 350 crore (Rs 50 crore per circle) for violating the licence terms and conditions.

The telecom major has challenged the decision of the division bench of the high court which had set aside its single judge’s March 18 order staying the DoT notification.

While challenging the special 2G court’s order summoning him as an accused, Mittal has contended that criminal liability cannot be fastened on an individual for alleged acts of a firm.

“The special judge failed to consider the settled law in the context of vicarious criminal liability of Managing Directors/Directors and other officers of corporations that in the absence of specific statutory provisions making individual actors liable, there shall be no vicarious criminal liability imposed on any individual for acts of any corporation,” mentioned in the petition filed by Mittal.

“Commission of an offence by raising a legal fiction or by creating a vicarious liability in terms of provisions of a statute must be expressly stated. The Managing Director or Directors of a company cannot be said to have committed an offence merely because they are holders of offices,” according to it.

Besides Mittal, special CBI judge O P Saini had also summoned two others — Essar Group promoter Ravi Ruia, who was then a director in one of accused company Sterling Cellular Ltd, and Asim Ghosh, then MD of accused firm Hutchison Max Telecom Pvt Ltd — whose name were not mentioned in the charge sheet.

Will file complaint on Aircel-Marxis deal, Swamy tells court

Janata Party chief Subramanian Swamy Saturday told a special court hearing the 2G spectrum allocation case that he wanted to file an additional private complaint on the Aircel-Maxis deal, in which Home Minister P. Chidambaram is alleged to have a role.

Swamy sought time from special Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) judge O.P. Saini for the purpose, saying that order on his plea seeking Chidambaram as a co-accused in the case is pending in Supreme Court and he also wants to file an a­dditional complaint on the Aircel-Maxis deal. Judge Saini listed the matter for further hearing Aug 25.

“My matter is partially different from the CBI’s case. In the Aircel-Maxis matter, there is a separate case by the CBI. The Supreme Court has said that scope of the probe should be widened… I wish to file an additional complaint case before this court,” Swamy said. The CBI is currently investigating the alleged role of then telecom minister Dayanidhi Maran in the Aircel-Maxis deal.

Swamy told Saini that there was something also related to the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB), which was under the chairmanship of Chidambaram, the finance minister from 2004 to 2008, in the deal.

Swamy had earlier told the Supreme Court that the CBI probe into the Aircel-Maxis deal was focused only on Maran’s role in arm-twisting Aircel’s owner to sell his stake to the Malaysian firm Maxis. On Feb 4, the special court has rejected his plea seeking Chidambaram as a co-accused in the the 2G scam.

According to the government auditor, former telecom minister A. Raja was biased while distributing mobile airwaves and operating licences to telecom firms, causing a loss of up to Rs.1.76 lakh crore in lost revenues to the treasury.

A total of 19 individuals, including Raja, and six companies are accused in the two separate case.



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2G case : Supreme Court reserves order on Chidambaram

The Supreme Court Tuesday reserved its order on whether to issue notice to union Home Minister P. Chidambaram on a plea of Janata Party president Subramanian Swamy seeking to make him a co-accused along with former telecom minister A. Raja in the 2G pricing case.

A bench of Justice G.S. Singhvi and Justice K.S. Radhakrishnan also reserved the order on Centre for Public Interest Litigation’s (CPIL) plea for a court-monitored CBI probe into Chidambaram’s role as the then finance minister in giving his nod for giving 2G licences embedded with spectrum in 2008 at 2001 prices.

Swamy has challenged special CBI Judge O.P. Saini’s Feb 4 order rejecting his plea to make Chidambaram a co-accused.

He alleged that as the then finance minister, Chidambaram was party to two decisions, that is, keeping the spectrum prices in 2008 at 2001 level and dilution of equity by the two companies. Swamy argued these are two activities for which Raja has been charged.

“Facts and circumstances and ramifications of the aforesaid two decisions, for which a meeting of minds had taken place, and thus he (Chidambaram) was a party to the said two decisions” and liable to be proceeded against, Swamy had contended before the court.

The CPIL which has sought direction to the CBI to conduct a thorough investigation into the role of the finance ministry then under Chidambaram) in the 2G spectrum scam, contended that Chidambram had overruled his officials who had said that in 2008 the 2G spectrum (radio waves) could not be given at 2001 prices.

The CPIL has told the court that both Raja and Chidambram knew that spectrum being given to companies would be traded to earn premium by way of mergers and acquisitions and the government should have a lion share in this premium. But when it actually came to stake claim on the premium, Chidambram described it as infusion of more capital.

The CPIL had told the court that the DoT recommendation to hike the licence fee by 3.5 times too was ignored.



Drama in court: Man held for ‘threat’ to Raja’s ex-aide

A man sitting in a Delhi court hearing the 2G scam case was Thursday ordered to be taken into custody after former telecom minister A. Raja’s ex-aide Aseevatham Achary accused him of threatening him.

Testifying as a witness before special Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) judge O.P. Saini, Achary told the court that he had been given a life threat and the person who had threatened him was sitting in the room.

Upon this, a man ran out of the court but was immediately apprehended by the police. He was brought back to the court where judge Saini directed the Delhi Police to take him into custody for interrogation.



2G trial shifted to Tihar Jail

A special CBI court hearing the 2G case Tuesday shifted the trial to the Tihar Jail complex following a Delhi High Court order.

The court shifted the hearing due to security reasons, a lawyer said.

The 14 accused in the case include former telecom ministser A. Raja and Rajya Sabha member Kanimozhi of the DMK.

Special CBI Judge O.P. Saini said: “From tomorrow, the trial shall be held in Tihar Jail court complex.”

However, defence and prosecution lawyers protested the move.

Public Prosecutor U.U. Lalit said: “We have already issued summons to the witnesses to appear in Patiala House court complex. The shifting will create confusion.”

Lawyers for the accused said they will challenge the order in the high court.

The Delhi High Court notification, issued by Registrar General V.T. Vaish, said: “Acting Chief Justice A.K. Sikri and judges of this court are pleased to order that the trial of 2G spectrum case shall be held in Tihar Jail court complex.”