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2G Spectrum Case: Swan Telecom Promoter, 3 Others Plant 500 Trees

The Delhi High Court was informed on Monday by Swan Telecom promoter Shahid Usman Balwa and three others, whose acquittals in the 2G spectrum allocation case were challenged by the CBI and the ED, that they had planted 500 trees each in pursuance to its earlier direction. The court had in February directed Swan Telecom Pvt. Ltd. (STPL) promoter Balwa, former Telecom minister A Raja’s erstwhile private secretary R K Chandolia, director of Kusegaon Fruits and Vegetables Pvt. Ltd. Asif Balwa and Rajiv Agarwal to plant 500 trees each here as penalty for seeking more time to file their responses to the appeal of CBI challenging their acquittal.

The counsel for Deputy Conservator of Forests (DCF) sought time to file an affidavit to see whether the court’s earlier has been complied with in its letter and spirit. Justice A K Chawla said let the affidavit be filed by the DCF in two weeks before the next date of hearing, that is, October 24. In separate applications, filed through advocates Vijay Agarwal, Mudit Jain and Deepanshu Choithani, the four individuals said they have planted 500 trees in compliance with the earlier court order through their authorised representative. “In view of the same, it is prayed that this court may direct the forest department to take over the 500 trees as planted by the applicants,” it said.

Besides, the court had earlier asked some of the individuals and firms to plant trees in the ED’s money laundering case for seeking more time to file their responses in the appeal. A special court on December 21, 2017 had acquitted Raja, Kanimozhi and others in the CBI and ED cases. It had acquitted 17 others, including DMK supremo M Karunanidhi’s wife Dayalu Ammal, Vinod Goenka, Asif Balwa, film producer Karim Morani, P Amirtham and Sharad Kumar, Director of Kalaignar TV in the ED case.

On the same day, the trial court had acquitted Raja, Kanimozhi and 15 others, including former telecom secretary Siddharth Behura, Chandolia, Unitech Ltd MD Sanjay Chandra and three top executives of Reliance Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group (RADAG) — Gautam Doshi, Surendra Pipara and Hari Nair, in the CBI’s 2G case. On March 19 last year, the ED had approached the high court challenging the special court’s order acquitting all the accused.

A day later, the CBI too had challenged in the high court the acquittal of the accused in the case. The ED, in its charge sheet, had alleged that Rs 200 crore was paid by STPL promoters to DMK-run Kalaignar TV. The CBI had alleged that there was a loss of Rs 30,984 crore to the exchequer in allocation of licences for the 2G spectrum which were scrapped by the top court on February 2, 2012. Special Judge O P Saini, however, had held that the prosecution had “miserably failed” to prove the charges.

The special court, which was set up on March 14, 2011 for hearing 2G cases exclusively, had also acquitted Essar Group promoters Ravi Kant Ruia and Anshuman Ruia and six others in a separate case arising out of the 2G scam probe. The first case, prosecuted by CBI, had 17 accused, while the second matter, pursued by ED, had 19 undertrials. The third one had eight accused including Essar promoters. In the CBI case, Raja, Kanimozhi and 15 others were tried under provisions of the IPC and the Prevention of Corruption Act dealing with offences of criminal conspiracy, cheating, forgery, using as genuine fake documents, abusing official position, criminal misconduct by public servant and taking bribe.―Devdiscourse

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