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 case: Court allows exemption plea of Karim Morani

A special Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court Tuesday allowed Cineyug Film’s Karim Morani, accused in the 2G spectrum case, exemption from personal appearance in court.

Judge O.P. Saini said: ‘Accused Morani’s exemption plea from personal appearance is allowed. However, he will have to appear before the court on May 12.’

On May 6, Morani had got exemption as he was admitted to Mumbai’s Lilavati Hospital.

The defence counsel for Morani submitted that his client was still in hospital so he might not be able to appear before the court.

A similar application by DMK MP Kanimozhi and Kalaignar TV chief Sharad Kumar for exemption from personal appearance in the court was rejected by a special court May 7.

The first chargesheet filed April 2 named former communications minister A. Raja, former telecom secreatry Siddharth Behura, Raja’s private Secretary R.K. Chandolia, Swan Telecom promoter Shahid Usman Balwa, director of Mumbai-based DB Realty Vinod Goenka, managing director of Unitech Sanjay Chandra and three senior officials of the Anil Ambani group for conspiring to sell spectrum waves at rock bottom prices.

The CBI filed the second chargesheet April 25. It named DMK MP Kanimozhi, Swan Telecom promoter Shahid Balwa, Sharad Kumar, Karim Morani and Kusegaon Realty director Rajiv Aggarwal.

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.

Judicial custody for five co-accused in 2G telecom spectrum case

Five senior corporate executives named as co-accused in the second generation (2G) telecom spectrum case were sent to 14 days of judicial custody Wednesday after a city court denied them bail and then interim relief.

Those whose pleas for bail and interim relief were dismissed by Special Judge O.P Saini are: Vinod Goenka of Swan Telecom, Sanjay Chandra of Unitech and three officials of Reliance Anil Dhirubhani Ambani Group — Gautam Doshi, Hari Nair and Surendra Pipara.

Immediately after, senior counsel K.T.S Tulsi moved the Delhi High Court on behalf of all the five accused and sought a hearing of their appeals, challenging the lower court order. Justice Vikramjit Sen said an appropriate bench will hear the matter Thursday.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had named them co-accused, along with former telecom minister A. Raja, his personal aide R.K. Chandolia, former telecom secretary Siddhartha Behura and Swan Telecom promoter Shahid Balwa.

These four are already in judicial custody.

“There are serious allegation against the applicants. There is incriminating evidence on record. The CBI has expressed apprehension that the accused may tamper with evidence by trying to win over witnesses and they may flee from justice,” the judge said.

“These apprehension cannot be dismissed as too farfetched at this stage, in the light of serious nature of the case,” he said in the 42-page order delivered Wednesday on the bail pleas of the five accused.

As soon as bail was declined, all the five moved pleas for some interim relief before the court, saying 7-15 days may be given to them so that they can approach a higher court, as they were not arrested during investigations.

“I am not inclined to pass any order regarding status quo or grant of interim bail at this stage as prayed,” the judge said. “All the five should be taken into custody and sent to Tihar Jail. They need to appear before the court throughout the trial.”

The verdict came after Judge Saini had reserved his order last Friday after hearing the arguments of all sides, including that of Supreme Court appointed prosecutor U.U. Lalit who appeared for the premier investigative agency and opposed the bail pleas.

While Lalit appeared for the CBI, former additional solicitor general Mukul Rohatgi appeared for Goenka, Tulsi for Chandra, Seema Gulati for Nair, Ranjit Kumar for Doshi, and Hariharan for Pipara.

In the formal charges running into some 80,000 pages including annexures filed with the special CBI court, also named as co-accused were three firms — Unitech, Swan Telecom and Reliance Telecom.

Among these corporates, Unitech was represented by S.S. Gandhi, Swan by Amit Desai and Sidharth Patnaik, and Reliance Telecom by Manali Singh with authorised representative Nitin Aggarwal.

All the counsel for the accused argued that since their clients were not arrested for past two years, charges had already been officially filed and they had also cooperated with the CBI, they were entitled to bail. This was challenged by the probe agency.

The case took a a serious turn after Raja, a leader of the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, resigned Nov 14 as telecom minister 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 subsequently 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 the award of scarce radio frequency. The former minister also faces charges of forgery, while Chandolia and Behura have been accused of misusing official position.

“It is unfortunate the bail plea of Vinod Goenka has been rejected by the lower court. We have immense faith in our judicial system and confident that justice will prevail,” said N. Shridhar, group director for DB Realty, reacting to Wednesday’s verdict.

“We would like to state these developments will not affect the operations of DB Realty in any manner whatsoever. There is no direct or indirect shareholding of DB Realty in the telecom business and the company will continue its business in the normal course.”