New Delhi | A Delhi court today postponed for December 19 the final arguments in the 2G spectrum case involving exTelecom Minister A Raja, DMK MP Kanimozhi and 15 others, saying recording of evidence in money laundering case emanating from the scam is yet to begin. Special CBI Judge O P Saini, who was scheduled to hear the final arguments in the matter today, said it is proper that final arguments commence only after recording of prosecution evidence is completed.
Today’s proceeding witnessed some anxious moments as the Judge had issued a Non Bailable Warrant (NBW) against Kanimozhi for nonappearance which was withdrawn in less than an hour after her counsel appeared before it and apologised. The court allowed the adjournment plea of counsel for both the CBI and the accused on the ground that they require more time for advancing their arguments. Adjournment prayed by both parties… Moreover, recording of prosecution evidence is to begin in Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) case in which the laundering of proceeds of crime is alleged. So it is proper that before the commencement of final arguments in this case, the evidence should be completed in that case also.
Accordingly the prayer for adjournment is allowed. Put up the matter for final arguments on December 19, the judge said. During the brief hearing, Special Public Prosecutor (SPP) Anand Grover said he required some more time to go through the record of the case and would advance his arguments thereafter. Advocate Vijay Aggarwal, appearing for accused Swan Telecom promotor Shahid Balwa, said how can the court commence final arguments when an application moved by the CBI for examining some more witnesses is pending. The court on September 10 had concluded recording of defence evidence in the case and fixed the matter for final arguments.
In the PMLA case, ED had chargesheeted 19 accused including Raja, Kanimozhi, Swan Telecom promoters Shahid Usman Balwa and Vinod Goenka, Directors of Kusegaon Fruits and Vegetables Pvt Ltd Asif Balwa and Rajiv Agarwal, Bollywood producer Karim Morani and Kalaignar TV Director Sharad Kumar, along with others who are also accused in 2G spectrum allocation case. The court had on October 31 framed charges against them under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) and fixed the case for commencement of trial on November 11.
The CBI had alleged that there was a loss of Rs 30,984 crore to the exchequer in allocation of 122 licences for 2G spectrum which were scrapped by the Supreme Court on February 2, 2012. The special judge, who is exclusively dealing with 2G scam cases, had concluded recording of defence evidence in the case in which the CBI had examined 153 witnesses while the accused called 29 witnesses in their defence.
The recording of evidence in the case involving Raja and 16 others had started three years ago on November 11, 2011, after the court had framed charges against the 17 accused named in the first two charge sheets filed by the agency. The court has recorded statements of 153 CBI witnesses, including Reliance ADAG Chairman Anil Ambani, his wife Tina Ambani and former corporate lobbyist Nira Radia, running into over 4,400 pages in the case.
Besides Raja and Kanimozhi, former Telecom Secretary Siddharth Behura, Raja’s erstwhile private secretary R K Chandolia, Balwa, Goenka, Unitech Ltd MD Sanjay Chandra, three top executives of Reliance Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group (RADAG) Gautam Doshi, Surendra Pipara and Hari Nair are facing trial in the case. Asif Balwa, Agarwal, Sharad Kumar and Morani are also accused in the case. Three telecom firms Swan Telecom Pvt Ltd (STPL), Reliance Telecom Ltd and Unitech Wireless (Tamil Nadu) Ltd are also facing trial in the case. The court had on October 22, 2011 framed charges against them under various provisions of the IPC and the Prevention of Corruption Act dealing with offences of criminal conspiracy, cheating,forgery, faking documents, abusing official position, criminal misconduct by public servant and taking bribe. The offences entail punishment ranging from six months in jail to life imprisonment.
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