CBI witnesses’ statements made court frame 2G charges

A special court here considered the statements of witnesses presented by the CBI while framing charges against former communications minister A. Raja and 16 others for criminal breach of trust, bribery, forgery and cheating in the 2G spectrum case.

The witnesses would be examined during the trial that begins Nov 11.

Trusting the statements of Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) witnesses, Special Judge O.P. Saini Saturday said that there was incriminating material on record against Raja and 16 others.

The court said that there was direct evidence against Raja, his former aide R.K. Chandolia and former telecom secretary Siddharth Behura.

The court observed that witness Desh Raj, a clerk in department of telecommunications (DoT), stated that the files of Swam Telecom and Unitech Wireless were put up by Chandolia before Raja for signing the licence agreements.

Witness R.P. Parmesh Kumar talked about the relationship between Swan Telecom’s Shahid Usman Balwa and accused Raja through his family members.

“Balwa was present in person in the DoT on Jan 1, 2008. LOIs (Letters of intent) were received by him in person,” the court noted while framing charges.

Witness Aseervatham Achari in his statement said that Unitech Wireless’ Sanjay Chandra used to visit Raja and Chandolia when Raja was minister of environment and forests. Other witnesses added that Unitech Wireless was ineligible on the date of application.

While framing charges against Asif Balwa and Rajiv B. Agarwal, both directors of Kusegaon Fruits and Vegetables Pvt. Ltd., the court observed that the decision to an extend unsecured loan of Rs.209.25 crore was jointly taken by the two.

“The allegation are that bribe of Rs.200 crore was paid in consideration of grant of spectrum to Swan Telecom, a company made accused in the case, which was received by Kalignar TV on behalf of accused Raja of which accused ( DMK MP) Kanimozhi and Sharad Kumar are partners,” the court said.

“They (Asif Balwa and Rajiv B. Agarwal) took directions from Shahid Balwa and Vinod Goenka of DB croup for such heavy transaction,” said Achari’s statement, adding that Raja and Kanimozhi were close to each other and visited each other’s residence frequently.

The court said: “I have extracted evidence against each accused in the brief to show that there is incriminating material on record against each accused.”

“Apart from the statement and documents brief mentioned, there is incriminating material in other statements and documents also, but referring the same in detail would burden this order unnecessarily and, as such, the same has not been referred,” the judge observed in his order.

It is contrary to the record to say that there was no evidence on record against any accused, it said.

The judge also observed that there was enough evidence for framing of charges against telecom firms Swan Telecom, Unitech (Tamil Nadu) Wireless Ltd. and another company.

The court also found prima facie evidence of abuse of official position by Raja, Chandolia and Behura.

The CBI, in its first charge sheet filed April 2, accused Raja and others with causing a loss of Rs.30,984 crore to the exchequer by allocating spectrum to ineligible operators as per a criminal conspiracy among themselves.

The judge Saini also ordered that trial in the case will begin Nov 11 as all the accused refusing to plead guilty to various offences.

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 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.

CBI files chargesheet in 2G spectrum case

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Saturday filed its first chargesheet in the 2G spectrum scam . The chargesheet was filed in the special court of CBI judge O.P. Saini. Former Telecom minister A Raja has been charged with criminal conspiracy, forgery, cheating and corruption.

Raja’s private secretary R K Chandolia, former telecom secretary Siddharth Behura and Swan Telecom promoter Shahid Balwa have also been chargesheeted. Other corporate honchos chargesheeted in the case are Swan Telecom director Vinod Goenka, Director Unitech Wireless Sanjay Chandra.

Nine persons and three companies have been chargesheeted under various provisions of IPC including cheating, forgery and criminal conspiracy and under the Prevention of Corruption Act.

CBI sources, however, said the extent of loss to the state exchequer may not be included in this chargesheet as the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) was yet to complete the process of ascertaining the loss on allocation of spectrum to all operators between 2001 and 2008.

The CBI had last year informed the apex court that it would be filing the first set of charge sheet by March 31 which will include the investigations made by the agency as well as by the Enforcement Directorate in the case. But it sought two more days time in the light of some new developments.