New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday refused to interfere with the trial of Swan Telecom promoter Shahid Balwa and several others.

The petitioners had approached the apex court asking that certain witnesses’ statements recorded by the enforcement directorate should not be relied upon during their trial under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002.

A bench of chief justice H.L. Dattu and justices Madan B. Lokur and A.K. Sikri refused any temporary relief or stay of trial. However, lawyer Harish Salve, appearing for one of the petitioners, argued that they had no objection to the trial continuing but wanted the trial court to be restrained from relying on statements that had been recorded by customs officials.

Declining to grant this relief, the court said it could not direct the manner in which the trial court conducts its proceedings. The case will come up for hearing on 26 November.

On 31 October, judge O.P. Saini, who presides over the special 2G court, had framed charges against former telecom minister A. Raja and 18 others in a money laundering case. The lower court had found prima facie evidence that these 19—10 individuals and eight companies—were involved in parking of illegal gratification of 200 crore in Kalaignar TV.

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