New Delhi: The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Tuesday filed an appeal in the Delhi high court, challenging a December order by a special CBI court that acquitted all the accused in the 2G spectrum allocation case.

The investigating agency’s move comes a day after the Enforcement Directorate (ED) approached the high court challenging the acquittal of former telecom minister A. Raja, Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) chief M. Karunanidhi’s daughter Kanimozhi and 15 others in the 2009 case.

On Tuesday, CBI issued a statement saying that the agency “filed an appeal relating to the 2G scam in the Delhi high court. The judgement of trial court (Delhi) was examined legally and it was found that there are strong grounds for an appeal".

A person familiar with developments in the case said that since the special CBI court had not taken cognizance of the charges framed by the agency, CBI had been “forced to take remedial action".

The person also said that CBI was likely to proceed on the grounds that “arguments of prosecution had not been taken by the court and crucial evidence had been ignored".

The development comes amid the 12th straight day of disruption in the ongoing budget session of Parliament. The appeal by CBI and ED could create more discord between the opposition Congress and the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, already at loggerheads on a number of issues including the Rs12,636 crore fraud at Punjab National Bank.

Both the appeals will be heard by justice S.P. Garg on Wednesday.

The matter was mentioned in-chamber before Delhi HC acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal directed that it be listed before an appropriate bench.

In February, the centre had appointed additional solicitor general Tushar Mehta as special public prosecutor for the 2G appeal.

Special CBI judge O.P. Saini exonerated all the 17 accused of charges under the Prevention of Corruption Act and the Prevention of Money Laundering Act due to lack of evidence.

Among the others accused were Raja’s ex-private secretary R.K. Chandolia, Reliance Group managing director Gautam Doshi, its senior vice-president Hari Nair, president Surendra Pipara, Swan Telecom Pvt. Ltd promoter Vinod Goenka, Unitech Ltd managing director Sanjay Chandra, Essar Group promoters Anshuman and Ravi Ruia, its director (strategy and planning) Vikas Saraf, Loop Telecom Pvt. Ltd promoters Kiran Khaitan and her husband I.P. Khaitan. Loop Telecom, Loop Mobile India Ltd and Essar Tele Holding Ltd were also tried.

In 2010, a Comptroller and Auditor General report had claimed that allocation of 2G spectrum in 2008 led to a presumptive loss of Rs1.76 trillion to the exchequer due to irregularities in spectrum allocation during Raja’s term as telecom minister. CBI had filed an FIR against “unknown officers" of the telecom department and unknown private persons/companies under various provisions of the Indian Penal Code and Prevention of Corruption Act in October 2009 and a Special CBI court was set up to hear the case in March 2011.

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