2G PMLA case: Court warns ED of imposing exemplary cost

Enforcement Directorate (ED) today faced the ire of a special court which warned the agency that it would impose “exemplary cost” on it for wasting court’s time due to non-availability of prosecution witnesses for recording of their statements in a 2G scam-related case.

Special CBI Judge O P Saini was irkanimoked as no prosecution witness turned up before the court during the day for recording of statement in the ED’s 2G scam-related money laundering case in which ex-Telecom Minister A Raja, DMK MP Kanimozhi and others are facing trial.

“It is impressed upon the prosecution (ED) to summon two or three witnesses for each date so that presence of at least one or two witnesses is assured in the court, as almost all witnesses are from outstation.

“Since no other matter is pending before this court, the whole day is lost on account of non-availability of witnesses. If the prosecution fails to procure the presence of witnesses in future, it shall be subjected to exemplary cost for wasting the time of the court as it has happened earlier also on many occasions,” the judge said and fixed the matter for tomorrow.

During the hearing, ED’s special public prosecutor Naveen Kumar Matta told the court that two witnesses, Raj Kumar Tharad from Kolkata and Surender Mohan Prasad from Mumbai, were summoned and served for recording of their statements today.

Matta said that Tharad has sent a request saying that duly certified documents could not be procured from the bank which were related to the case whereas Sharma did not come to the court due to a family function.

The court “reluctantly allowed” the submissions of the ED prosecutor.

Raja, Kanimozhi, DMK leader M Karunanidhi’s wife Dayalu Ammal, Swan Telecom Pvt Ltd (STPL) promoters Shahid Usman Balwa and Vinod Goenka and 14 others, including nine firms, are facing trial in the case in which the ED had on April 25 filed a charge sheet against them for alleged offences under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).

SC notice to CBI on Kanimozhi plea for acquittal in 2G scam case

kanimojhi1The Supreme Court on Tuesday issued a notice to the Central Bureau of Investigation or CBI on a plea by DMK MP Kanimozhi in 2G scam case for quashing of the charges against her in the spectrum allocation scam, claiming she has been falsely implicated in the case.

A bench, headed by Justice H L Dattu, sought a response from the agency to file its response within two weeks.

Kanimozhi, who is facing trial, sought discharge from case contending there was no evidence on record to justify the charges of receiving the alleged bribe money.

“Continuance of trial against the petitioner without any material basis would amount to an abuse of the process of the court and requires interference from this court to secure the ends of justice.

It is submitted that the criminal proceedings against the petitioner have been initiated illegally and without jurisdiction,” the Rajya Sabha l said in her
petition.

The 44-year-old leader, who was granted bail on November 28, 2011 after spending over six months in Tihar Jail, also sought setting aside of all proceedings that has ensued after framing of charges. She was arrested on May 20, 2011.

(Source: PTI)

2G: Kanimozhi moves SC seeking urgent hearing

KanimozhiDMK MP Kanimozhi has filed apetition in the the Supreme Court for an urgent hearing on her plea to quash the charges framed against her in the 2G case.

In her plea, Kanimozhi said that two-and-a-half years have passed since she first moved the Delhi High Court and later the apex court seeking quashing of charges against her.

She said the trial before the Special CBI court was progressing on a day-to-day basis and any delay in hearing would render her plea infructuous.

Kanimozhi, daughter of DMK Chief Karunanidhi, said that in the absence of her plea not being heard at the earliest, she is “needlessly undergoing the agony of the trial”.

“The continuance of the trial against her without any material basis would amount to abuse of process of law, and result in gross miscarriage and failure of justice,” her application said.

The apex court had earlier issued notice to the CBI on Kanimozhi’s petition seeking quashing of the charges against her.

Initially, Kanimozhi and the other accused in the 2G case had moved the Delhi High Court seeking quashing of charges, but on a plea by the CBI, they were put on hold.

Kanimozhi had moved the Supreme Court seeking quashing of the charges against her in the 2G spectrum allocation scam, claiming she has been falsely implicated in the case.

Kanimozhi had said that she was one of the directors of Kalaignar TV for two weeks June 6-20, 2007, when she resigned and had nothing to do with the channel’s financial transactions.

The CBI alleged that the TV channel was the beneficiary of Rs. 200 crore transaction in the 2G scam.

(Source: PTI)

2G case: ED opposes bail pleas of Raja, Kanimozhi

Raja, KanimozhiEnforcement Directorate (ED) today opposed in a Delhi court the bail pleas of ex-Telecom Minister A Raja, DMK MP Kanimozhi and others, accused in the 2G scam related money laundering case, saying that the matter involves commission of “grave economic offence” by them.

ED, in its separate replies filed before Special CBI Judge O P Saini, vehemently opposed the bail pleas of the accused saying there exists a “prime facie” case against them, which in all probability will “result in conviction”.

“…. from the documents and material evidence filed with this court, there is sufficient case to believe that all the accused are guilty of the offences with which they are severally and individually charged,” ED said while responding to the bail plea of Raja.

In its replies, filed through Special Public Prosecutor Naveen Kumar Matta, the ED said the case involves “commission of grave economic offence by the accused causing enormous loss to the public exchequer and laundering the proceeds of crime (which too are substantial) through a series of layering transactions solely with a view to lend a colour of legitimacy….”.

The court has now fixed June 3 for hearing arguments on the bail pleas and on the issue of framing of charges.

In its replies, ED also cited Supreme Court judgements saying it revealed that stringent conditions are needed for grant of bail in cases of economic offences.

Regarding Raja’s role, it contended that he had subverted telecom policy to favour certain pre-identified persons, who made windfall profits at the cost of the public exchequer.

“In lieu of illegal benefits, accused in conspiracy caused a transfer of a sum of Rs 200 crores, through several layers of front companies, which according to the documents submitted is in fact a bribe paid for the illegal benefits,” it claimed.

The money laundering case relates to the 2G scam in which the DMK-run Kalaignar TV was allegedly paid Rs 200 crore by the promoters of Swan Telecom.

ED has also claimed the transaction of Rs 200 crore, which was allegedly paid to Kalaignar TV, was “not genuine” and it was a “bribe for grant of telecom licences to DB Group companies”.

It said the money transactions constitute offence under provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) and are punishable with imprisonment not less than three years.

“Considering it as a special case, in light of gravity and seriousness of the offence and particularly the manner in which the same was committed…..it is prayed that court ought not exercise the discretion to grant bail,” ED said.

During the hearing, the accused told the court that they have received all the documents annexed with the charge sheet and scrutiny of papers were complete to their satisfaction.

“It was submitted by counsel for accused that since record of the case is voluminous, two days time may be granted for going through the same. Arguments for bail and on charge will be taken for hearing on June 3 in the presence of all the accused,” the judge said.

Besides Raja and Kanimozhi, Swan Telecom promoters Shahid Usman Balwa and Vinod Goenka, directors of Kusegaon Fruits and Vegetables Pvt Ltd Asif Balwa and Rajiv Aggarwal, Bollywood producer Karim Morani, Kalaignar TV Managing Director Sharad Kumar and P Amirtham had on May 26 appeared before the court in pursuance to the summons issued against them and had moved their bail pleas.

They were summoned as accused by the court which had taken cognisance of the ED’s charge sheet filed against 19 accused — 10 individuals and nine companies.

DMK Supremo M Karunanidhi’s wife Dayalu Ammal was also summoned as an accused in the case but she did not appear and her counsel sought her exemption from personal appearance for the day on health grounds which was allowed by the court.

Her counsel had earlier told the court that there was “unsoundness of mind” as far as Ammal’s health condition is concerned.

The court had held that there was “enough incriminating material” on record to proceed against them.

ED has also named as accused Swan Telecom Pvt Ltd, Kusegaon Realty Pvt Ltd (formerly known as Kusegaon Fruits and Vegetables Pvt Ltd), Cineyug Media and Entertainment Pvt Ltd (formerly known as Cineyug Films Pvt Ltd), Kalaignar TV Pvt Ltd, Dynamix Realty, Eversmile Construction Company Pvt Ltd, Conwood Constructions and Developers (P) Ltd, DB Realty Ltd and Nihar Constructions Pvt Ltd.

ED had earlier told the court that its probe into the case emanates from the 2G scam and the accused had allegedly conspired and committed the scheduled offences under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).

ED also alleged that being the then Telecom Minister, Raja had the principal role in the allotment of 2G licences and he had “assisted” in the offence of money laundering.

It said that Ammal was holding 60 per cent share in Kalaignar TV whereas co-accused Kanimozhi and Sharad Kumar had a stake of 20 per cent each.

ED also alleged there was a “reverse trail” of money from Kalaignar TV to Dynamix Realty through Cineyug Films Pvt Ltd (CFPL) and Kusegaon Fruits and Vegetables Pvt Ltd (KFVPL).

Raja, Kanimozhi, Shahid Balwa, Vinod Goenka, Asif Balwa, Rajiv Aggarwal, Karim Morani and Sharad Kumar are also facing trial in the 2G scam case in which CBI had earlier filed its charge sheets and are out on bail.

(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)

Kanimozhi had no role in 2G case: witness

In a CBI court a prosecution witness told that DMK MP Kanimozhi, accused in the 2G spectrum allocation scam case, had “no role at all” in the Rs 200 crore transactions between Kalaignar TV (P) Ltd and Cineyug Films (P) Ltd.

CBI witness G Rajendran, general manager (finance) of Kalaignar TV, told special CBI judge OP Saini that the DMK MP had no role in the investment matters between Kalaignar TV and Cineyug Films, whose director Karim Morani is also facing trial in the case.

On being cross-examined by senior advocate Sushil Kumar, who appeared for Kalaignar TV MD Sharad Kumar, Rajendran said DMK chief Karunanidhi’s wife Dayalu Ammal was fully aware of the decision to raise Rs 200 crore from Cineyug Films and Sharad had “not acted independently on his own” as all his actions were authorized and approved by Dayalu Ammal. He also told the court that Rs 200 crore transaction between the two companies was “genuine” and no “sham document” was executed in this regard.

Rajendran told the court that Kalaignar TV had applied for the requisite licence from the ministry of information and broadcasting more than a month after Kanimozhi’s resignation from directorship of the channel on June 20, 2007. “It is correct that application for licence to ministry of I&B was made for the first time on July 30, 2007, more than a month after resignation of Kanimozhi Karunanidhi,” he said.

Rajendran told the court that Kalaignar TV received Rs 200 crore from Cineyug Films and the money was received through banking channels in different tranches. He also said that on receipt of Rs 200 crore, all the money was put into the business of Kalaignar TV.

“Starting with the month of December 2010, the money was returned along with interest to Cineyug Films in different tranches. The money was returned as Cineyug Films insisted on its return. Cineyug Films asked for the return of the money, as it had approached Kalaignar TV for equity participation and that did not happen,” Rajendran said, adding that the money started to come from Cineyug Films in December 2008 and continued till August 2009.

The statement assumes significance as it contradicts the CBI theory according to which Kanimozhi was taking interest in the day-to-day affairs of the TV channel in which she owned 20% shares.

The agency had chargesheeted Kanimozhi alleging that Rs 200 crore “illegal gratification” was routed from Dynamix Realty to Kalaignar TV through Kusegaon Fruits and Vegetables Pvt Ltd and Cineyug Films.

According to the CBI, Dayalu Ammal, his daughter Kanimozhi and co-accused Sharad Kumar have 60%, 20% and 20% shares of the TV channel respectively.

Kanimozhi, along with others, including former telecom minister A Raja, is facing trial in the case for various offences punishable under the IPC and under the Prevention of Corruption Act.

‘Kanimozhi did not take interest in KTV’s affairs’

In Delhi a prosecution witness told here in court that DMK MP Kanimozhi, facing trial in the 2G spectrum case, was not actively involved in the day-to-day affairs of Kalaignar TV Pvt Ltd which had allegedly received Rs 200 crore from a partnership firm of Swan Telecom.

Kalaignar TV Director P Amirtham deposed in the special CBI court that Kanimozhi was initially “very reluctant” to join Kalaignar TV but under pressure of her father and former Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu M Karunanidhi, she agreed to it.

CBI had claimed that during the probe, Amirtham had said that Kanimozhi was taking keen interest in the day-to-day affairs of the channel.

During cross examination by senior lawyer Ram Jethmalani, who appeared for Kanimozhi, Amirtham said that throughout his tenure with the channel, he had not seen “any resolution or document by which powers of any kind were conferred on Kanimozhi”

Jethmalani, who contested CBI’s contention that Kanimozhi was taking keen interest in day-to-day affairs of the channel, asked Amirtham whether the agency’s view was correct.

The witness rebutted CBI’s statement. “The statement has been has been recorded without my knowledge,” he told Special CBI Judge O P Saini after Jethmalani referred to the statement given by him to the CBI.

The CBI had chargesheeted Kanimozhi alleging that Rs 200 crore “illegal gratification” was routed from Dynamix Realty to the TV channel through Kusegaon Fruits and Vegetables Pvt Ltd and Cineyug Films Pvt Ltd.

According to the CBI, Karunanidhi’s wife Dayalu Amma, his daughter Kanimozhi and co-accused Sharad Kumar have 60, 20 and 20 per cent shares of the channel respectively.

Kanimozhi, along with others, including former Telecom Minister A Raja, is facing trial in the case for various offences punishable under the IPC and under the Prevention of Corruption Act.

During the recording of the statement, which would continue on March 18, Amirtham said that he was appointed as a director in Kalaignar TV on May 28, 2010 and Dayalu Amma is his maternal uncle’s wife while Kanimozhi is her step- daughter.

He told that Kanimozhi had resigned as director of the channel on June 20, 2007 and “after her resignation from the board of the company and her appointment as a Rajya Sabha MP, she did not involve herself in the decision-making.”

During the proceedings, special public prosecutor U U Lalit told the witness that he was “deposing falsely” in the court to “save” Kanimozhi as he was resiling from the statement given to the CBI earlier regarding her involvement in the day-to-day affairs of the channel. Amirtham, however, denied the same.

Amirtham also told the court that due to the need for funds, the transaction between the channel and Cineyug Films (P) Limited took place.

The court proceedings today saw the use of a translator for the first time in the case as Amirtham had told the judge that he does not understand English as well as Hindi.

He had sent a request to the court for providing him a Tamil translator.

The CBI and the accused persons have been asked by the court to bring atleast one person who is well versed with both the languages.

Chenthil Kumar, a CBI prosecutor, and S Shunmugasundaram, a senior advocate, were present in the court for translation.

“Though I am prima facie satisfied that the witness understands English, but in view of the request made by the witness for providing facility of translator, his request stands allowed,” according to the judge.

2G case: Court lets Raja visit Tamil Nadu

In the 2G spectrum allocation case trial facing Former Telecom Minister A Raja, allowed by a court of Delhi to visit Tamil Nadu till November 25. Permission to visit Tamil Nadu on his plea has been given by Special CBI Judge O P Saini, after it was not opposed by the CBI.

The court also allowed the plea of Swan Telecom promoter and 2G case accused Vinod Goenka to visit Sri Lanka from November 26 to November 28 for business purposes. Raja sought permission to visit his native place because the court, while granting him bail on May 15 this year, had stipulated that he would not visit his home state without its prior permission.

“Accused A Raja has filed an application for permission to visit Tamil Nadu from November 23 till the night of November 25, 2012. “Senior Public Prosecutor has no objection to the prayer. Prayer allowed.

According to the judge, “Accused A Raja is permitted to visit Tamil Nadu.”

The court had granted bail to the 49-year-old DMK MP and had directed him not to visit the Department of Telecom (DoT), which he had presided over as minister, and not to make any inducement, threat or promise, either directly or indirectly, to any person linked to the case. Raja, along with DMK MP Kanimozhi and others, is facing trial for offences punishable under various provisions of the IPC and the Prevention of Corruption Act dealing with offences of criminal conspiracy, cheating, forgery, faking documents, abusing official position, criminal misconduct by public servant and taking bribe.

2G: Raja to cross examine A K Srivastava tomorrow

Former Telecom Minister A Raja will start cross-examining a key prosecution witness in the 2G spectrum allocation scam case in a Delhi court on Monday.

Raja, who is facing trial in the case, had earlier sought Special CBI Judge O P Saini’s permission to defer his cross-examination of prosecution witness and Department of Telecom’s former Deputy Director General (AS) A K Srivastava, due to unavailability of his counsel Sushil Kumar.

Srivastava testimony assumes significance in the 2G case as he had deposed that Raja, being the then telecom minister, was the “final authority” to take decisions on policy matters in the DoT.

He had also said Raja had communicated to the Prime Minister about the policy for distribution of licences “at his level” and the issues involved in it were “not processed” by DoT formally.

Raja, who was scheduled to cross-examine Srivastava after the CBI prosecutor concluded the recording of his statement, had earlier told the court that he would start it after Swan Telecom promoter and co-accused Shahid Usman Balwa completes the cross-examination but thereafter, he had sought time from the court till tomorrow.

The other accused had also told the court that they would cross-examine Srivastava, if needed, and that too after Raja finishes his examination.

According to the CBI charge sheet, there was a loss of over Rs 30,000 crore to the exchequer in the allocation of 2G spectrum in 2008 during the tenure of Raja.

Raja and DMK MP Kanimozhi, along with others, are facing trial for various offences like criminal conspiracy, cheating, forgery and faking documents under the Indian Penal Code and for the offences of abusing official position, getting bribe and criminal misconduct by public servant under the Prevention of Corruption Act.

The offences entail punishment ranging from six months in jail to life imprisonment.

(Source: PTI)

Don’t create unfriendly conditions in 2G case: Judge

Special CBI court, holding trial in 2G spectrum allocation scam case, on Wednesday took strong exception to former telecom minister A Raja’s refusal to cross examine a witness and asked all the accused not to “create unfriendly conditions” in the court.

Special CBI Judge OP Saini, who had on Tuesday allowed Raja’s plea to defer cross-examination of a key CBI witness, got annoyed when the DMK MP again pleaded that the proceedings be deferred as he does not want to cross examine GS Grover, then member (services) of department of telecom (DoT), at this stage.

“This witness (Grover) has not said anything big. You can cross examine him today after one hour or after the lunch. I do not want to create any scene in the court….I do not want people outside to think that this court is not working,” the judge said after Raja’s counsel Manu Sharma refused to cross examine Grover.

Raja’s counsel, however, insisted that he would not cross examine the witness as he is not prepared for it.

Later, the judge again asked Raja if he would cross examine the witness but the DMK MP replied that his lawyer has already said they are not prepared for it.

The judge completed the recording of statement of Grover and told all the accused that they should honour something which they said before the court.

The judge said this after CBI prosecutor AK Singh said that accused “suddenly stopped” the cross examination of key witness AK Srivastava, a former deputy director general (AS) of the DoT, which “forced” him to call other witnesses in between.

“Please do not create unfriendly conditions in the court. As the prosecutor is saying, if you (accused) have requested something from the court, please honour it,” the judge said.

The court had on Tuesday directed Raja to commence the cross-examination of Srivastava from September 10.

Srivastava had testified that Raja was “final authority” to take decisions on policy matters.

According to the CBI charge sheet, there was a loss of over Rs. 30,000 crore to the exchequer in the allocation of 2G spectrum in 2008 during the tenure of Raja.

Raja and DMK MP Kanimozhi, along with others, are facing trial for various offences like criminal conspiracy, cheating, forgery and faking documents under the Indian Penal Code and for the offences of abusing official position, getting bribe and criminal misconduct by public servant under the Prevention of Corruption Act.

The offences entail punishment ranging from six months in jail to life imprisonment.