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Verdict on bail pleas of 2G case co-accused April 20
Published on 15 Apr. 2011 10:49 PM IST
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A special court of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) will deliver its verdict April 20 on the bail pleas of five corporate executives, co-accused in the case involving the award of second generation (2G) telecom spectrum.
Judge O.P. Saini reserved verdict after hearing the arguments of both sides, including co-accused Vinod Goenka of Swan Telecom, Sanjay Chandra of Unitech and three officials of Reliance Anil Dhirubhani Ambani Group, Gautam Doshi, Hari Nair and Surendra Pipara.
They were named co-accused along with former telecom minister A. Raja, his personal aide R.K. Chandolia, former telecom secretary Siddhartha Behura, and Swan Telecom promoter Shahid Balwa. These four are already in judicial custody.
“The verdict will be delivered on April 20. But the CBI will visit the court on April 18 for the scrutiny of the documents,” Judge Saini said.
In the formal charges, running into some 80,000 pages including annexures, filed before Judge Saini, the probe agency had also named three companies -- Unitech, Swan Telecom and Reliance Telecom.
During the three-hour hearing Friday, while the probe ageny was represented by U.U. Lalit, former additional solicitor general Mukul Rohatagi appeared for Goenka, K.T.S. Tulsi for Chandra, Seema Gulati for Nair, Ranjit Kumar for Doshi, and Hariharan for Pipara.
Among the corporates, Unitech was represented by S.S. Gandhi, Swan by Amit Desai and Sidharth Patnaik, and Reliance Telecom by Manali Singh with authorised representative Nitin Aggarwal.
“I (my client) cooperated with the investigative agency. Whenever they called me up -- the agency would give me a call -- I turned up. They never had to issue any summon for my appearance,” said Ranjit Kumar.
He wondered if his client Doshi had not influenced any witness who had recorded his or her statement till date, how could he do so later. “This case is based on documentary evidence, already with the investigative agency. No question of tampering with it.”
The same line was presented by Hariharan for Pipara and Gulati for Nair. Tulsi added that there should be no apprehension in the mind of the probe agency or the court that his client will flee. “Therefore, there is no need for custody.”
Tulsi once again said the circumstances under which his client -- like the other co-accused -- was not arrested for the past two years were reason enough for grant or bail. This was again challenged by the probe agency.
“Considering the material on record, complicity of the accused in the crime is clearly made out. The acts of alleged offences are far serious, having made deep inroads in public interest and financial affairs of the state,” Lalit said on behalf of the CBI.
The agency said the co-accused were holding high positions and now that the names of the witnesses were also disclosed, some of whom were amenable to their directions, there was a possibility of influencing them.
“There is also every likelihood that the accused will abscond, in order to avoid smooth running of trial. The detention of accused persons in judicial custody would facilitate speedy trial of the case,” said the agency in its three separate replies.
Regarding Unitech’s Chandra, the probe agency said that his group companies were in the realty business and even the objectives of these companies were not changed to include the telecom business before applying for a licence.
It also alleged that Goenka, one of the directors of Swan telecom, fraudulently procured the licence despite being ineligible to apply.
Raja, his aide and the officials from the Department of Telecom (DoT) face charges of conspiracy. The former minister also faces forgery charges, while Chandolia and Behura have been accused of misusing official position.
A leader of Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, Raja resigned Nov 14 as telecom minister after it came to light that the official auditor had held that his policy on spectrum allocation resulted in a loss of several billion dollars to the exchequer.
He was arrested by the probe agency in the national capital Feb 2, along with Behura and Chandolia, while Balwa was arrested from Pune on Feb 8.

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