Aircel-Maxis case: ED moves Delhi Court for custodial interrogation of Karti Chidambaram

NEW DELHI: A Delhi court today sought a response from Karti Chidambaram son of former Union minister P Chidambaram in a Aircel Maxis money laundering. The plea came after the court extended the interim protection of the father-son duo till October 8 last week.

Special CBI judge O P Saini asked Karti to file his response by September 18 on the plea of the ED which alleged that the son of senior Congress leader has violated the condition imposed by the court while granting relief.

The probe agency has alleged that Mr Chidambaram was not cooperating with the investigation. In its plea, the ED said that even during investigation, Karti had either remained silent or answered after consulting his lawyers.ED is also probing a separate money-laundering case in the Aircel-Maxis matter and a charge sheet was filed against Karti Chidambaram by the agency on July 13.

The senior Congress leader’s role has come under the scanner of investigating agencies in the Rs 3,500-crore Aircel-Maxis deal and the INX Media case involving Rs 305 crore.Both Karti Chidambaram and P Chidambaram have denied allegations in the matter.

Court pulls up Anshuman Ruia, denies permission to go abroad

Court pulls up Anshuman Ruia, denies permission to go abroad
Court pulls up Anshuman Ruia, denies permission to go abroad

Essar Group promoter Anshuman Ruia, facing trial along with others in a case arising out of the 2G scam probe, has been denied permission to travel abroad with a special court rapping him for “wasting” its time by submitting “obscure” documents.

Special CBI Judge O P Saini dismissed Ruia’s plea in which he had sought permission to travel abroad from June 6 to June 30 for business purposes and certain family commitments.

The judge said that names of the countries, to be visited by the accused, were not mentioned in his application and “the court is left to grapple with the itinerary to find out the countries which would be visited by the accused.”

“I also find that documents attached with the application are also abstruse and obscure and it is very difficult to make any sense out of them,” the judge said, adding, “It is thus clear that the application has been filed just to waste the time of the court and not so much for seeking permission to travel abroad.”

Meanwhile, the court allowed the separate application of co-accused Vikash Saraf, Essar Group Director (Strategy and Planning), seeking its permission to travel to Dubai from June 15 to June 30 for his work there.

While allowing Saraf’s plea, the court noted the case was not listed for hearing during this period and his presence was not required before it.

However, it cautioned Saraf saying, “It is impressed upon the accused (Saraf) to be careful and vigilant while filing such applications, as filing applications full of howlers and bloomers leads not only to embarrassing situations in the court but also results into wastage of precious time of the court.”

Essar Group promoters Ravi Ruia and Anshuman Ruia, Loop Telecom promoters Kiran Khaitan, her husband I P Khaitan and Vikash Saraf are facing trial in the case along with three companies — Loop Telecom Ltd, Loop Mobile India Ltd and Essar Tele Holding Ltd (ETHL).

The five individual accused, who are out on bail, have denied the charges levelled against them by CBI.

DoT seeks time to file reply on Loop Telecom’s plea

telecomDepartment of Telecommunication (DoT) today sought six weeks from a special court to file its response on a plea by Loop Telecom Ltd, facing trial in a case relating to the probe into the 2G spectrum allocation scam, for referring the matter to the Lok Adalat.

A DoT official, who appeared in the court, told Special CBI Judge O P Saini that he has got an instruction from the department to seek time to file reply which was scheduled to be furnished today.

The court told the department that it would not grant six weeks time to file the reply as the matter was pending for a long time.

“DoT seeks time to file reply. Reluctantly allowed. Put up for reply, if any, of DoT on February 18,” the court said.

Loop Telecom Ltd is facing trial in a case along with promoters of Essar Group, Ravi Ruia and Anshuman Ruia, and Loop promoters Kiran Khaitan, her husband I P Khaitan and Essar Group Director (Strategy and Planning) Vikash Saraf.

Besides them, two other telecom companies — Loop Mobile India Ltd and Essar Tele Holding Ltd — are also facing trial in the case. All of them have denied charges levelled by CBI.

CBI had earlier opposed the plea filed by Loop Telecom Ltd saying it should be dismissed as their application was not legally maintainable and the firm was trying to get the court’s last year’s order, dismissing a similar petition filed by the accused, “reviewed”.

The court, on March 27 last year, had dismissed a plea by Loop Telecom Ltd seeking directions for referring the case to Lok Adalat, observing that prima facie there were “no chances of settlement” and the case had “wider ramifications”.

Lok Adalat is an alternative dispute resolution mechanism by which the parties involved in civil and compoundable criminal cases try to arrive at a compromise to settle their case.

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).

PMLA case: Karim Morani allowed to go abroad for promoting film

karim MoraniBollywood producer Karim Morani, an accused in the 2G scam-related money laundering case, has been allowed to travel abroad for release of upcoming Shahrukh Khan-starrer movie ‘Happy New Year’ by the special court which observed filing of such pleas was aimed at wasting its time.

Special CBI Judge O P Saini allowed the application filed by Morani in which he had sought court’s permission to travel to Dubai from October 20 to October 27 saying that being the creative/associate producer of the film, he has been assigned the duty to make all arrangements for its successful premier.

Morani also said that the movie was going to be released in Dubai on October 22 and his presence was required there.

“In view of these factors, I do not find anything wrong in permitting the accused (Morani) to travel abroad. Having said that, I wish to put on record that applicant/accused is filing these applications quite frequently which result in wastage of substantial time of court and may, in certain circumstances, be rightfully seen and considered as aimed at deliberately wasting time of the court,” the judge said.

“I also have an apprehension that this tactics of filing repeated applications is aimed at wasting the time of court and the application can be dismissed on this ground alone. However, the accused has assured that he would desist himself from filing such an application in foreseeable future as his project abroad is complete. I hope the accused would mend his ways and keep his promise,” the judge abserved.

Enforcement Directorate had opposed Morani’s plea saying it was vague and the documents attached to it suffered from various deficiencies.

The agency alleged that Morani was frequently filing such pleas and was taking the court for granted and was misusing liberty.

Morani’s counsel, however, told the court that this was his last such application and he might not file such pleas in foreseeable future.

Morani, along with former Telecom Minister A Raja, DMK MP Kanimozhi, DMK supremo M Karunanidhi’s wife Dayalu Ammal and others, was chargesheeted by ED in the money laundering case

Had informed SG about cut-off date: Raja tells court

A RajaFormer Telecom Minister A Raja on Wednesday told a Delhi court that the then Solicitor General (SG) G E Vahanvati was informed that applications seeking 2G spectrum licence received till September 25, 2007 only would be processed by the Department of Telecommunications (DoT).

Deposing as a witness to defend himself in the ongoing 2G case trial, Raja denied the suggestion of CBI prosecutor that pages of the DoT’s note sheet regarding cut-off date were only meant for internal consumption of the department and not for SG.

“It was brought to the notice of the learned SG through the note sheet…, where it was clearly mentioned that 575 applications were received by the department, and that the applications received upto September 25, 2007 were going to be taken for processing for issuing LOI.

“Though the date of October 1, 2007 is not mentioned in the file. However, the number of applications received upto October 1, 2007 have been mentioned …,” Raja told Special CBI Judge O P Saini.

Raja, whose cross examination will continue tomorrow, had yesterday said that the decision about the cut-off date of September 25, 2007 for processing of applications seeking 2G spectrum licence was taken after “due deliberations” in DoT.

He had denied the suggestion of CBI prosecutor that he had decided the cut-off date of September 25, 2007 without any basis.

CBI, in its charge sheet, had alleged that in order to favour Unitech and Swan Telecom, Raja unilaterally advanced the cut-off date from October 1, 2007 to September 25, 2007 for processing applications for grant of 2G licences and had ignored various authorities including the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India, the Law Ministry and the Prime Minister’s Office.

CBI, in its charge sheet filed on April 2, 2011, had said, “the investigation has revealed that even though this cut-off date of October 1 had been announced, accused Raja, in conspiracy with other accused, had already taken a view to keep the cut-off date as September 25.”

Raja is facing trial in the case along with former Telecom Secretary Siddhartha Behura, DMK MP Kanimozhi, Swan Telecom promoters Shahid Usman Balwa and Vinod Goenka, Unitech Ltd MD Sanjay Chandra, Reliance ADAG executives Gautam Doshi, Surendra Pipara and Hari Nair.

Besides them, Bollywood producer Karim Morani, Kalaignar TV Managing Director Sharad Kumar and Directors of Kusegaon Fruits and Vegetables Pvt Ltd, Asif Balwa and Rajiv Agarwal, are also facing trial in the case.

Besides these 14 accused, three telecom firms– Swan Telecom Pvt Ltd, Reliance Telecom Ltd and Unitech Wireless (Tamil Nadu) Pvt Ltd– are also accused in the case.

The court had on October 22, 2011 framed charges against them 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.
(Source: PTI)

Ex-PM, Cabinet were under confusion: Raja

2g1Former telecom minister A. Raja told a Delhi court on Tuesday that former prime minister Manmohan Singh and his Cabinet members were “completely under confusion” created by “vested interests” about policy and procedure of the Department of Telecommunication (DoT) in the allocation of 2G spectrum. Deposing as a witness to defend himself in the ongoing trial in the 2G spectrum allocation case, Raja, an accused, told the court that he had held many discussions with the then prime minister and explained to him the policy and legal framework governing the issuance of licences and allotment of spectrum.

He also claimed that he had told Singh that there was a “cartel force” wanting to stop legitimate efforts of the DoT to boost tele-density and reduce tariff in the country by injecting competition. “I further disclosed (to PM) how pressure was put on me through legal and other means to restrain myself from these efforts. The prime minister told me that he got the letter (sent by Raja in November 2007) and it was discussed at length in the PMO, where a separate joint secretary is posted to look after DoT to apprise PM of all these issues,” Raja told special CBI judge O.P. Saini.

“I submitted relevant papers in a folder to the prime minister. Further he told me that members of the Cabinet were also completely under confusion created by vested interests and he handed over a letter to me which was written by Kamal Nath, the then Union minister, addressed to prime minister, which raised the same issues and wanted constitution of a group of ministers on these issues (relating to the policy and procedure of DoT),” he said.

Raja, whose deposition will continue on Wednesday, also told the court that he had “further felt that the Prime Minister/ PMO was completely misguided by the vested interests, who had taken the same stand before TDSAT on the issues”.

“In Parliament also, such confusing questions were asked by MPs at the behest of vested interests. So, I took the issue seriously and replied to the prime minister on the same day (on November 2, 2007) by writing the aforesaid letter. Explaining the correct legal position,” he said.

(Source:PTI)

CBI witnesses under rivals’ influence: Khaitan

2gLoop Telecom promoter I P Khaitan, facing trial in a case arising out of the probe into the 2G spectrum allocation scam, today claimed before a special court that some of the CBI witnesses might have deposed against him under the influence from corporate rivals.

Deposing before special CBI judge O P Saini, he said that telecom sector is a competitive business and there was a possibility that some of the prosecution witnesses had deposed against him during the trial under influence from rival firms. He also told the court that he used to take every decision in Loop Telecom.

During the recording of statement, Khaitan alleged that clause 8 of unified access service licence, which according to the CBI was violated by the accused facing trial in the case, was misunderstood. 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.

In its charge sheet, CBI had alleged that Essar Group, which already had a stake as an existing telecom operator, created Loop Telecom as a “front company” to secure additional spectrum which was in contravention of then telecom policy. The probe agency had also alleged that after the issuance of letter of intents to Loop Telecom for 21 circles by the Department of Telecommunication (DoT) on January 10, 2008, licence fees was paid by the firm which was allegedly sourced from Essar Group.

During the day’s proceeding, the court also concluded the recording of statement Saraf. The stage for recording of statements of the accused was set earlier when the court had given a draft questionnaire having 645 questions each and running into 308 pages to them.

The court had framed charges against promoters of Essar Group and Loop Telecom for the offences under section 120 B (criminal conspiracy) read with section 420 (cheating) of the IPC while the substantial charge of cheating was made out against Saraf only. All of them have denied the charges levelled by CBI in the case.

(Source: PTI)

2G case: Swamy moves court for Raja’s written statement

A Delhi court Saturday posted for July 6 an application filed by Janata Party chief Subramanian Swamy seeking the written statement given by former telecom minister A. Raja to Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) in the 2G spectrum allocation case.

Approaching Special CBI Judge O.P. Saini, who is trying the 2G case, Swamy, in his application, said: “In order to ensure that all aspects of the case are examined, actual culprits may be booked, tried and punished it is necessary to summon the complete written statement filed by A Raja before the JPC.”

“It has come to the knowledge of the complainant (Swamy) that the written statement gives a detailed account of the official meetings held between the prime minister, the finance minister and the accused in December 2007 and January 2008 to formulate and finalise the rules and regulations for the 2G spectrum allocation by the then government,” Swamy said in the application.

Apart from Raja’s April 22 written statement to JPC chairman P.C. Chacko, Swamy also sought the draft report of the JPC, the Public Accounts Committee and also the statements of Shyamala Shukla, the then director of infrastructure and Sindhushree Khullar, the then additional secretary, economic affairs department, to ascertain the truth.

(Source:Indo-Asian News Service)

Sunil Mittal moves SC against 2G court’s order

Sunil Bharti Mittal who is the CMD of the Bharti Cellular Pvt. Ltd. has approached to the Supreme court of India to challenge the March 19 order of the special 2G court summoning him as an accused in a corruption case related to allocation of additional spectrum during the NDA regime in 2002.

Mr. Mittal, whose name was not mentioned in the CBI’s charge sheet as an accused, was, however, summoned by the special CBI court saying there were “enough material” to proceed against him in the case.

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

The 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). They all were also summoned for April 11 by the court.

The court had said that Mittal, Ruia and Asim Ghosh were “prima facie” in “control of affairs” of their companies which were named in the charge sheet by the CBI in the case.

The court, in its two-page order, had said that Mr. Mittal was the Chairman-cum-Managing Director of Bharti Cellular Ltd while Mr. Ruia was then a director of Sterling Cellular Ltd and they used to chair the board meetings of their respective companies and the “acts of the companies are to be attributed and imputed to them”.