New Delhi: Drama engulfed the 2G spectrum trial on Thursday when Asservartham Achary, the star witness for the prosecution, said a man in the courtroom had threatened him. The man was immediately arrested.
Achary was the private secretary to A. Raja when the latter was the Union environment minister from 2004 to 2007. He told judge O.P. Saini that a man named Jaiprakash who was present in the room threatened him. Jaiprakash, who tried to flee, was arrested by the police in the Patiala House court complex.
The police then produced the man, who is in mid-30s, before the court, which queried him about his presence.
On seeing him, Achary told the judge that he had not met the man earlier. This was contradicted by his personal security officer. On his part, the man identified as Jaiprakash told the court that he brings food and water for some of the accused in the case.
But the court was not satisfied and handed him over to the police for interrogation.
Achary told the court that the person who was threatening him had been sitting with Raja’s former private secretary, R.K. Chandolia, since morning and had just left the court room.
He further said he and his family members were being threatened since 6 August and that he had informed the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), in September after which he had been provided security by the Delhi Police.
Achary also told the court that lobbyist Niira Radia used to call him up to enquire about the “whereabouts” of Raja.
“It is correct that before my conversation (of 18 September 2008), Niira Radia had spoken to me many times on phone. She used to speak to me about the whereabouts of A. Raja... I used to address her ‘ma’am’ and not by her name,” Achary said.
Raja began his defence on Thursday with the cross-examination of key CBI witness Achary, who was his former additional private secretary.
Raja called off a month-long protest in the wake of CBI filing its third chargesheet on 12 December against Essar and Loop and their promoters.
At the beginning of the trial on 11 November, Raja told special CBI judge Saini, who is hearing the case, that he would not cross-examine witnesses until CBI filed its third chargesheet and made a statement that its probe in the case was complete.
Meanwhile, Reliance Group officials—group managing director Gautam Doshi, senior vice-president Hari Nair and group president Surendra Pipara—moved the Delhi high against the special court’s order to frame charges against them in the 2G case.
Justice V.K. Shali asked them to file short synopses in addition to their petition against the framing of criminal charges against them in the 2G case.
Justice Shali set the matter for further hearing on 16 January.
Senior advocate Rajiv Nayar appearing for Doshi, Pipara and Nair said he does not want the officials’ petitions to be tagged with the pleas of Rajiv Agarwal and Asif Balwa, co-accused and directors of Kusegaon Fruits and Vegetables Pvt. Ltd.