2G case: Trial completes one year, over 100 witnesses examined

The high-profile accused like former telecom minister A Raja and DMK MP Kanimozhi completed a year in the ongoing trial in the 2G spectrum allocation case, yielding the recording of over 3,000 pages of depositions in examination of over 100 witnesses.

The trial which has started Nov. 11 last year, was set after special CBI judge O P Saini had framed charges against 17 accused, including three telecom firms, named in the first two charge sheets saying there was sufficient prima facie evidence against them.

For the last one year, apart from Raja and 16 others, the court has also been holding the trial of Essar Group and Loop Telecom promoters, who have been arrayed as accused in a case linked to the 2G scam.

The court has recorded statements of 77 CBI witnesses in the case in which Raja is the key accused, while in the case against Essar and Loop promoters, it has concluded recording statements of 28 prosecution witnesses.

As per the court sources, around 3,000 pages of evidence have been recorded by the judge till now.

The proceedings in the case, conducted by the special CBI Court set up exclusively to deal with the 2G spectrum case, is also being monitored by the Supreme Court.

Besides Raja and Kanimozhi, former telecom secretary Siddharth Behura, Raja’s erstwhile private secretary R K Chandolia, Swan Telecom promoters Shahid Usman Balwa and Vinod Goenka, Unitech Ltd MD Sanjay Chandra, three top executives of Reliance Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group (RADAG) – Gautam Doshi, Surendra Pipara and Hari Nair – are facing trial in the case.

Directors of Kusegaon Fruits and Vegetables Pvt Ltd Asif Balwa and Rajiv Agarwal, Kalaignar TV director Sharad Kumar and Bollywood producer Karim Morani are also accused in the case.

2G auction in continuity with NDA policy: Raja

Defending his role in the allocation of 2G spectrum, former communications minister A. Raja Monday said the decision to auction the scarce radio frequency was a continuity of the policy of the previous National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government.

“I have only implemented what I have inherited. Dayanidhi Maran (communications minister from 2004-07) resigned, so I became the minister,” Raja’s counsel Sushil Kumar said before special CBI judge O.P. Saini.

The CBI Saturday concluded its arguments on the framing of charges in the 2G phone spectrum case, charging the 14 accused and three companies of causing a loss of 30,984 crore to the exchequer by selling the scarce resource, also called radio frequency that helps carry telecom signals, to private players cheap.

The accused also include former telecom secretary Siddharth Behura and Raja’s personal aide R.K. Chandolia, DMK MP Kanimozhi, Kalaignar TV chief Sharad Kumar, Cineyug’s Karim Morani, Swan Telecom’s Shahid Usman Balwa, his cousin Asif Balwa and Rajeev Agarwal, who are directors of Kusegaon, and Unitech Wireless’ Sanjay Chandra.

The other accused are Gautam Doshi, Hari Nair and Surendra Pipara of Reliance Group, and Vinod Goenka of Swan Telecom. In addition, the three companies are DB Realty, Swan Telecom and Unitech Wireles.

CBI to give Radia tapes to 2G accused

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) will by July 12 provide taped coversations of corporate lobbyist Niira Radia to all those accused in the 2G spectrum scam case, the probe agency said in court Thursday.

The investigation agency, while responding to the plea by the accused, said before special CBI judge O.P Saini: “The accused have said the transcript of the conversations in the tape will help them in arguments…”

Tapes containing Radia’s conversations with former communications and IT minister Raja and some industrialists and journalists have surfaced. The tapes were submitted as part of the evidence in a public suit over the 2G spectrum allotment row.

The accused in the spectrum scam, currently in Tihar Jail, include high profile names such as former telecom minister A. Raja, former telecom secretary Siddharth Behura, Shahid Balwa, Raja’s aide R.K. Chandolia, Swan Telecom’s Vinod Goenka, Unitech Wireless Sanjay Chandra and three ADAG executives – Gautam Doshi, Hari Nair and Surendra Pipara.

The CBI had also named Cineyug Films’ Karim Morani as well as DMK chief M. Karunanidhi’s daughter Kanimozhi and Kalaignar TV chief Sharad Kumar as co-conspirators after it traced an illegal money trail of Rs.214 crore in the scam.

2G case: No bail for Balwas, Rajiv Aggarwal

A special CBI court Tuesday turned down the bail pleas of Shahid Balwa, Asif Balwa and Rajiv B. Aggarwal in the 2G spectrum scam case. While Shahid Balwa is the promoter of Swan Telecom, the other two are from Kusegaon Realty.

CBI special judge O.P. Saini rejected the bail applications of all three, named as co-accused along with former communications minister A. Raja in the case related to irregularities in the allocation of airwaves to telecom companies, causing huge losses to the exchequer.

The CBI’s first chargesheet April 2 had named, besides Raja, former telecom secretary Siddharth Behura, Shahid Balwa, Raja’s aide R.K. Chandolia, Swan Telecom’s Vinod Goenka, Unitech’s Sanjay Chandra and three executives of the ADAG – Gautam Doshi, Hari Nair and Surendra Pipara.

Asif Balwa and Rajiv Aggarwal were named in the supplementary chargesheet filed April 25. The Central Bureau of Investigation had also named Cineyug Films’ Karim Morani as well as DMK chief M. Karunanidhi’s daughter Kanimozhi and Kalaignar TV chief Sharad Kumar as co-conspirators after it traced an illegal money trail of Rs.214 crore in the scam.

The probe agency claims it has unearthed an illegal money trail that moved from Dynamix to Kusegaon and then on to Cineyug, all part of the DB Group, that promoted Swan Telecom, ending with Kalaignar TV, majority-owned by Karunanidhi’s family.

2G scam: Morani’s bail plea dismissed

A Special Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court here Monday rejected the anticipatory bail plea of Cineyug Films’ founder Karim Morani, named as co-conspirator of 2G spectrum allocation scam, saying his health report was normal.

“In view of the medical condition of the accused being normal and stable, I am satisfied that no case for anticipatory bail on medical grounds is made out. The application is without merit and same is dismissed,” CBI Special Judge O.P. Saini said.

Morani, who was exempted from personal appearance till now, will have to be present in court Tuesday.

Defence counsel Siddharth Luthra argued that Morani, 62, was suffering from various ailments for the last 31 years.

Luthra said Morani had undergone angioplasty in 1991, 1993 and 1997, and had open heart surgery in 2007.

He also said that Morani had received a sixth bypass graft and required reboring of his two major vessels. He had also been advised complete rest due to a chest pain.

“My client company is a big name in the field of music and entertainment. He has done a perfectly legal commercial transaction,” Luthra added.

Rejecting his bail plea, the court said that as per Mumbai’s J.J. Hospital’s report, Morani is stable.

Luthra had submitted the medical report from J.J. Hospital, as was demanded by the court May 10 when he was exempted from personal appearance due to ill-health.

Meanwhile, Lilavati Hospital and Research Centre in Mumbai has also described Morani’s condition as stable, with blood pressure at 120 by 70 mg, which is also normal, added the judge.

“I may also add that in case of need, proper medical facilities are available in Tihar Jail itself and if a prisoner requires any further treatment, he is immediately taken to Ram Manohar Lohia hospital or AIIMS (All India Institute of Medical Sciences),” he said.

“I may add that co-accused Surendra Pipara is already being provided best of medical facilities at AIIMS,” the judge said.

The CBI’s first chargesheet April 2 had named, besides former communication minister A. Raja, former telecom secretary Siddharth Behura, Swan Telecom promoter Shahid Balwa, Raja’s aide R.K. Chandolia, Swan Telecom’s Vinod Goenka, Unitech’s Sanjay Chandra and three executives of the Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group – Gautam Doshi, Hari Nair and Surendra Pipara.

In its April 25 supplementary chargesheet, the CBI named DMK chief M. Karunanidhi’s daughter Kanimozhi and Kalaignar TV managing director Sharad Kumar as co-conspirators after it traced an illegal money trail of Rs.214 crore in the scam.

The supplementary chargesheet also named Karim Morani as well as Asif Balwa and Rajiv B. Aggarwal of Kusegaon Realty.

The probe agency claims it has unearthed an illegal money trail that moved from Dynamix to Kusegaon and then on to Cineyug, all part of the DB Group, that promoted Swan Telecom, ending with Kalaignar TV, majority owned by Karunanidhi’s family.

Except for Morani and Pipara, who is in judicial custody at AIIMS here, all those named in the CBI chargesheets are lodged in Tihar Jail.

2G scam: Five corporate honchos’ bail verdict Monday

The Delhi High Court will, on Monday, pronounce its verdict on the bail plea of five senior corporate executives accused in the second generation (2G) spectrum case.

The five accused are Vinod Goenka of Swan Telecom, Sanjay Chandra of Unitech and three officials of the Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group — Gautam Doshi, Hari Nair and Surendra Pipara. Except Pipara, who is in hospital, all the others are in Delhi’s Tihar jail .

Justice Ajit Bharihoke will deliver his judgment post lunch Monday. He had reserved their bail pleas May 9, after hearing the arguments of the accused and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

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

“Charges against Doshi in the second generation telecom spectrum case are baseless and denial of bail goes against his personal liberty,” his counsel Soli Sorabjee, former attorney general and solicitor general of India, told the court.

Chandra was defended by senior lawyers Ram Jethmalani and K.T.S. Tulsi.

Mukul Rohtagi argued for Goenka, Nair was represented by Rajiv Nayar and Pipara’s bail plea was argued by Neeraj Kishan Kaul.

During the course of arguments, Special Public Prosecutor U.U. Lalit said: “The corporates and the accused were direct beneficiaries of the entire spectrum deal and they were involved in a conspiracy along with (former communications minister) A. Raja to obtain benefit from the grant of spectrum licences”.

He said the corporates were part of a conspiracy where huge amount of money was involved and they had also forged some documents to obtain spectrum licences.

The case reached the high court April 20, after a trial court rejected their bail applications, terming their pleas as “meritless” in the face of “serious allegations” and “incriminating evidence” in a chargesheet filed by the CBI.

The accused had then filed pleas for interim bail for one week so that they could move the high court against the trial court order, but that plea was also rejected.

The five corporate executives, named in the CBI chargesheet, were not arrested during the probe. But they were taken into custody April 20 after the trial court rejected their bail pleas.

Earlier, opposing their bail pleas, the CBI said some of the key witnesses belonging to the corporate world worked directly under the five accused and the possibility of their influencing the witnesses could not be ruled out.The first chargesheet April 2 had named, besides Raja, former telecom secretary Siddharth Behura , Swan Telecom promoter Shahid Usman Balwa, Raja’s aide R.K. Chandolia, Goenka, Chandra, Doshi, Nair and Pipara.In its April 25 supplementary chargesheet, the CBI named DMK chief M. Karunanidhi’s daughter Kanimozhi, and Kalaignar TV managing director Sharad Kumar as co-conspirators after it traced an illegal money trail of Rs.214 crore in the scam.Both were arrested May 20 and sent to Tihar jail.

The supplementary chargesheet also named Cineyug Film’s Karim Morani as well as Asif Balwa and Rajiv B. Aggarwal of Kusegaon Realty.

Pipara was admitted to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences ( AIIMS )) May 4 after he fainted in the courtroom. Except him and Morani, who has been granted exemption from personal appearance in court due to ill-health, all those chargesheeted by the CBI are lodged in the Tihar Jail.CBI prosecutor A.K. Singh said the third supplementary chargesheet will be filed in the first week of July.

Five more named co-accused in 2G phone spectrum case

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Monday named five more people, including Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi’s daughter Kanimozhi, co-accused in the case involving the award of second generation (2G) phone spectrum.

The supplementary chargesheet, the second thus far, filed by the premier probe agency in a special court here also names as co-accused Sharad Kumar of Kalaignar TV, Karim Morani of Cineyug Films, and Asif Balwa and Rajiv B. Agarwal of Kusegaon Realty.

‘I don’t want to comment now,’ Kanimozhi told in Chennai.

Dayalu Ammal, wife of Karunanidhi and stepmother of Rajya Sabha member Kanimozhi, does not figure in the charges filed Monday as speculated by a section of the media.

The probe agency had first named as accused former communications minister A. Raja, his personal aide R.K. Chandolia, former telecom secretary Siddhartha Behura and Swan Telecom promoter Shahid Balwa.

Later, five more corporate executives were added to the list as co-accused — Vinod Goenka of Swan Telecom, Sanjay Chandra of Unitech and three officials of Anil Ambani Group: Gautam Doshi, Hari Nair and Surendra Pipara.

All nine are in judicial custody.

The case involves award of telecom spectrum to private players, which the investigative agency says was done in a fraudulent manner, causing losses worth billions of rupees to the exchequer.

The case had taken a serious turn after Raja, a leader of the DMK, resigned Nov 14 as communications minister. This was after the official auditor held that his policy on spectrum allocation had led to a loss of several billion dollars to the exchequer.

While the former minister was arrested by the probe agency in the national capital Feb 2, along with Behura and Chandolia, Swan Telecom promoter Balwa was arrested from Pune on Feb 8.

Raja, his aide and officials from the Department of Telecom (DoT) face charges for their roles in awarding radio frequency. The former minister also faces charges of forgery, while Chandolia and Behura have been accused of misusing their official positions.

Raja, 11 others formally charged in 2G spectrum case

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Saturday filed its first chargesheet of 127 pages with 80,000-page annexure against nine people and three firms in the case involving the allocation of second generation (2G) telecom spectrum.

The chargesheet, brought in seven steel boxes, was filed in the special court of CBI Judge O.P. Saini.

Among those named are former communications minister A. Raja, his personal aide R.K. Chandolia, former telecom secretary Siddhartha Behura, Swan Telecom promoter Shahid Balwa, director Vinod Goenka and Unitech Wireless director Sanjay Chandra.

Raja has been accused on several counts.

Three officials from the Reliance Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group — Gautam Doshi, Hari Nair and Surendra Pipara — as also three companies, Unitech, Reliance and Swan telecom, were also named as accused in the allocation of spectrum.

Among the individuals, four are already in judicial custody. The court issued summons to the others asking them to appear before it by April 13.

The three officials of the Anil Ambani Group were named in the chargesheet for allegedly concealing the in-eligibility of Swan Telecom for the grant of spectrum, said one of the investigative officers in the case.

Unitech, too, the chargesheet alleged was ineligible as the company did not have the necessary amendment in its memorandum and articles of association to enter the telecom business.

“The public is reminded the above findings are based on the investigation done by CBI and evidence collected by it,” the probe agency said. “Under the Indian law, the accused are presumed to be innocent till their guilt is finally established after a fair trial.”

The accused have been chargesheeted under various provisions of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988, including cheating, forgery and criminal conspiracy.

“We have 125 witnesses on whose information the agency has attached 654 documents to the chargesheet in the case,” said a CBI official.

“In the entire episode, the government incurred a loss of Rs.30,984 crore. Swan and Unitech telecom were the two companies totally ineligible for the licence allocation,” the official added.

“We are also investigating Kaliagnar TV, Asif Balwa and Rajiv Aggarwal, who are the directors of Kusegaon Fruits and Vegetables, and Cineyug and Green House promoters,” said senior public prosecutor specially called from Guwahati, A.K. Singh.

“They are likely to be named in the supplementary chargesheet that will be submitted by end-April,” Singh said, adding, the name of Kusegaon Fruits and Vegetables Private Ltd has since changed to Kusegaon Realty.

Regarding Raja’s close associate Sadiq Batcha, who was found dead under mysterious ciscumstances at his Chennai home last month, the probe agency said that they were tracing the alleged kick-backs in the scam that could have been routed through him.