Court to decide on framing of charges in 2G case on 15 Sept

Court to decide on framing of charges in 2G case on 15 Sept

New Delhi: A Delhi court will decide on 15 September whether to put former telecom minister A Raja, DMK MP Kanimozhi and 15 others on trial for their alleged role in the 2G spectrum allocation scam, which according to CBI has caused a loss of 30,984 crore to the public exchequer.

“The matter is now fixed on 15 September for orders (on framing of charges)," special CBI judge O P Saini said on Monday after special CBI prosecutor U U Lalit wrapped up his final argument, rebutting the plea of innocence by all the accused, including three telecom firms, two bureaucrats, nine corporate honchos and a filmmaker.

Lalit wrapped up his argument while pleading to the court to frame charges of corruption and other penal offences against all 17 accused and put them on trial for their alleged roles in the case.

While concluding his argument, Lalit told the court that Swan Telecom and Unitech got the licences despite their complete ineligibility to get the same.

He said both the companies off-loaded their shares soon after getting the licences and garnered around 7,300 crore in the process.

The special public prosecutor, specifically appointed by the apex court to prosecute the case, however, clarified that there is no evidence or material available on record to indicate that there was any quid pro quo by Unitech (Tamil Nadu) Wireless Pvt Ltd vis-a-vis anybody or party.

“We are conscious that so far as Unitech is concerned, we have found nothing to show any money trail against them. There is no quid pro quo as far as money exchanging hands is concerned in relation to Unitech," he said.

Shahid Usman Balwa-promoted Swan Telecom got the licences, which increased the value of their share tremendously, Lalit said, explaining the criminal culpability of the firm and its promoter in the case.

“The fact that Swan Telecom had licences in their pocket, the value of their share has increased so much that 40% share of this company is given at around 4,000 crore. Look at the tremendous jump in their value," he said.

Concluding their month-long, day-to-day arguments on framing of charges in the 2G case on 25 August, all 17 accused including Raja and DMK MP Kanimozhi, had denied having any alleged criminal culpability in the scam and had sought to be discharged from the case.

Lalit, who began his arguments on 21 July, had said it was Raja who had approved the grant of dual technology, 2G spectrum licences to telecom firms like ADAG’s Reliance Communications and others a day before even formally inviting the applications for it.

The agency claimed there was sufficient prima facie evidence to frame charges against 17 accused under provisions of the IPC and the Prevention of Corruption Act, dealing with criminal conspiracy and giving and accepting bribe.

Seeking discharge from the case, Kanimozhi had sought to drag Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in the 2G case threatening to make him a witness in the case.

“If the trial goes on (against her), I would summon the Prime Minister as a witness," she had submitted through her lawyer and senior advocate Sushil Kumar.

Raja too had said that he would get Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, then finance minister P Chidambaram and present telecom minister Kapil Sibal summoned as witnesses to prove that the government did not incur any loss in the 2G spectrum allocation.

Besides Raja and Kanimozhi, other accused in the case include former telecom secretary Siddhartha Behura, Raja’s former personal secretary R K Chandolia, DMK-run Kalaignar TV’s MD Sharad Kumar, bollywood filmmaker Karim Morani and ADAG’s executives Hari Nair, Gautam Doshi and Surrendra Pipara.

The accused also included three telecom firms Reliance Telecom Ltd, Swan Telecom and Unitech (Tamil Nadu) Wireless Ltd.

The other accused persons included Swan Telecom promoter Shahid Usman Balwa, his cousin Asif Balwa and their colleague Rajeev Agarwal, besides Unitech Ltd’s MD Sanjay Chandra and DB Realty MD Vinod Goenka.

Amit Desai, counsel for Swan Telecom, had argued that the CBI has failed to establish that his client hatched any criminal conspiracy with others to achieve “the common goal to cause loss to the state".

Desai had also cited various Supreme Court rulings to buttress his arguments that the CBI failed to prove that all 17 accused shared a “common and illegal objective" and, hence, cannot be booked for the offence of criminal conspiracy.

Balwa had accused Tatas of “contributory negligence" in losing out to his company in Delhi circle and said he should not be blamed for their (Tatas) wrongdoings.

Denying its role in the scam, ADAG firm Reliance Telecom Ltd (RTL) had said it committed no wrong and has been framed because of its big name.

Counsel appearing for RTL had said neither the company nor its three employees, who are also accused in the case, committed any act which could be linked to with the case.