Government asked to notify CBI probe into Batcha’s death

The Supreme Court on Monday directed the government to issue within three days a notification for handing to the CBI the probe into the mysterious death of Sadiq Batcha, a close aide of former Telecom Minister A. Raja.

“In the facts and circumstances of the case, we direct the government to issue notification within three days transferring the investigation of the case to the CBI.

Thereafter, the CBI will take over the investigation,” said a bench of justices G.S. Singhvi and A.K. Ganguly.

The court passed the order after taking on record Additional Solicitor General Indira Jaising’s statement that Tamil Nadu Government has given its consent for transfer of the probe to the CBI, which has expressed its willingness to take over the case.

She said a notification in this regard will be issued and all the preconditions have been satisfied under the law.

38-year-old Batcha, who had been quizzed by the CBI in connection with the 2G scam, was found dead in mysterious circumstances at his home in South Chennai on March 16 and his wife had claimed that he committed suicide as he was “unable to cope with the pressure” of the probe.

Mr. Batcha was the managing director of Greenhouse Promoters, which the CBI and the Enforcement Directorate suspected to be a front for Raja.

The apex court ordered the CBI probe into Batcha’s death on a plea by NGO, Centre for Public Interest litigation (CPIL), on whose petition the court had earlier ordered the CBI to probe the 2G spectrum allocation scam.

Mr. Batcha was said to have been found hanging in his house in Vannia Teynampet in South Chennai by his wife and his driver.

The CBI and the ED had conducted searches at his official and residential premises in December. He had been called for questioning four times since then

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.

CBI to probe Raja associate’s death

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) will investigate the alleged suicide of Sadiq Batcha, a close associate of former telecom minister Andimuthu Raja now in jail in the 2G spectrum scam.

A Supreme Court bench of Justice G.S. Singhvi and Justice A.K. Ganguly was told by CBI senior counsel K.K. Venugopal that a request for a CBI probe has been received from the Tamil Nadu government and the agency will take up the probe.

However, the CBI will probe the case only after a notification is issued by the central government.

The court has asked Additional Solicitor General Indira Jaisingh to inform it by Monday about the time the central government would require for issuing the notification for the CBI probe in Batcha’s death.

Batcha, a businessman close to disgraced former minister Raja, was found hanging at his Chennai home March 16. Batcha was not directly linked with the 2G spectrum scam but was being probed for the money trail in the multi-billion rupee scandal.

In a related matter, the CBI suggested the name of senior counsel Uday Lalit as the special public prosecutor to lead the prosecution case in 2G scam case before the special court of Additional Sessions Judge O.P. Saini.

Jaising will also inform the court Tuesday as to when the central government will issue notification appointing Lalit in the 2G spectrum scam case.