New Delhi: Swan Telecom promoter Shahid Balwa, who along with former telecom minister A. Raja and 17 others is facing a money laundering case arising out of the 2G scam, on Friday moved the Supreme Court seeking setting aside of a lower court order of framing charges against him.

A bench comprising chief justice H.L. Dattu and justice A.K. Sikri ordered listing of plea of Balwa for hearing on 18 November.

A special court had on 31 October ordered framing of charges under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) against 19 persons, including Raja, Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) supremo M. Karunanidhi’s daughter Kanimozhi and wife Dayalu Ammal and Balwa.

It had said that there was prima facie evidence that they played roles in “parking" of illegal gratification of Rs200 crore in Kalaignar TV. As the Delhi high court has been restrained by the apex court from entertaining any appeals arising out of trials in the 2G scam cases, Balwa, through his lawyers Shibu Shankar Mishra and Md Shahid Anwar, moved the Supreme Court seeking various reliefs, including grant of interim stay on the trial in the case registered by the Enforcement Directorate.

The plea contended that the alleged offences under IPC and the Prevention of Corruption Act, committed during 2007-08 and for which he, along with others, is being tried, were not part of the scheduled offences mentioned under PMLA till 31 May, 2009. Hence, the penal law cannot be applied with retrospective effect, it said.

“This SLP (special leave petition) shall determine the substantial question of law concerning the fundamental rights of the accused persons, as to whether an act, committed prior to the enactment of the (amended) PMLA, can be made subject matter of a criminal trial, and as to whether the same shall be violative of Article 20 (1) of the Constitution of India, that is, being against the principles of ex post facto law," it said.

Besides Raja, Kanimozhi and Balwa, the other accused in the case are Dayalu Ammal, Vinod Goenka, directors of Kusegaon Fruits and Vegetables Pvt Ltd Asif Balwa and Rajiv Agarwal, Kalaignar TV (KTV) managing director Sharad Kumar and its director P. Amirtham and Bollywood producer Karim Morani. They all are out on bail. ​PTI

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