New Delhi: Jailed Bollywood producer Karim Morani on Friday claimed innocence in a Delhi court saying CBI has failed to establish that the alleged trail of Rs200 crore to DMK-run Kalaignar TV through his firm Cineyug was a bribe in lieu of grant of 2G licence.
“Neither I am a habitual offender nor I had any connection with telecom business. The presumption cannot form a basis for his (Morani) prosecution. It cannot be the case that Rs200 crore was paid as quid pro quo for the grant of UAS (2G) licences,” senior advocate Siddhartha Luthra said.
Morani, director of Cineyug Films Pvt Ltd, is accused of “intentionally aiding and facilitating” the transfer of Rs200 crore from Shahid Usman Balwa-promoted D B Group, an alleged beneficiary of the scam, as bribe to Kalaignar TV.
Two stake-holders of Kalaignar TV, Kanimozhi, DMK MP and daughter of party supremo M Karunanidhi and Sharad Kumar, the CEO of the channel, are also accused in the case for allegedly receiving the bribe which was returned after former telecom minister A. Raja was first quizzed in the case.
Morani, who is booked under various provisions of the IPC and the Prevention of Corruption Act dealing with abatement, conspiracy and bribery, sought discharge from the case on the ground that “at best” he could be charged for financial irregularity.
“Even if I assume the charges against me are correct, the money gone to Kalaignar TV already came back. Where is the offence committed? “It is absolutely incredible that money, which was a loan, given and came back in a suspicious manner after the registration of FIR,” Luthra said.
The counsel for Morani termed the transaction of Rs206 crore through his firm Cineyug as “purely commercial” as the company wanted to invest in Kalaignar TV and later it (Cineyug) took back the money after the share subscription deal fell apart.
“Please consider the transaction in totality. It (Cineyug Films) is my flagship company and it is known in the area of films. I could have formed a shell company for transaction... Purchase and sale of shareholding well supported by minutes of board meetings is not illegal.
“The most important documents are the minutes (of the board meetings). They have been ignored by CBI which did not look into it. These are all contemporary records running through 2007. At no point, CBI has said these minutes are not legitimate. If it (the transaction) is recorded in company’s minutes, there is absolutely no basis to assume it is illegal,” Luthra said.
He also refuted CBI’s plea that the transaction was being shown as a loan to cover up the bribe trail.
“In May 2009, there was neither an FIR nor could I have presumed about it. Still, I gave all details to the banks when they asked for. The minutes are also prior to the FIR. Therefore, it cannot be a cover-up,” he said.
Morani’s counsel argued he is being suspected for a “purely commercial loan transaction on which he paid TDS as well as advance tax.”
“Not only have I paid TDS but also advance tax on the transcation... the Companies Act does not require a written agreement nor does the Stamp Papers Act require every thing to be on stamp papers only. Minutes and letters are enough,” Luthra said.