The Delhi High Court on Tuesday deferred to February 7, 2019 hearing on an appeal by the CBI challenging the acquittal of former Telecom Minister A. Raja, DMK MP Kanimozhi and other accused in the 2G spectrum allocation case.
Justice Najmi Waziri asked the CBI to provide digitised records of the trial court proceedings to the accused. The judge gave two weeks to the agency to provide the digitised records and six weeks to the accused to submit their replies. The court was hearing the probe agency’s plea challenging a Special CBI court order acquitting Mr. Raja and others in the 2G scam case.
The Enforcement Directorate too has moved the High Court challenging the court verdict. The CBI has contended that the Special CBI Court did not appreciate the evidence it had put forward establishing the alleged irregularities in the 2G allocation process.
It said the money trail of alleged bribery, which it had unearthed, was not taken into consideration by the special court. Even irregularities in the implementation of the first-come first-served policy were not considered, the CBI submitted. The ED had similar contention that the court, while acquitting all 10 individuals and nine entities from the money-laundering charges, did not properly appreciate the facts and evidence in the case.
The agency had on March 20 moved the high court against the trial court’s December 21, 2017 decision acquitting Mr. Raja, Ms. Kanimozhi and others in the 2G spectrum case.
Besides Mr. Raja and Ms. Kanimozhi, the special court had acquitted 15 others, including former Telecom Secretary Siddharth Behura, Mr. Raja’s erstwhile private secretary R.K. Chandolia, Swan Telecom promoters Shahid Usman Balwa and Vinod Goenka, 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 case.
The CBI had alleged before the special court that there was a loss of ₹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 on December 21 also acquitted the Ruias and six others – promoters of Loop Telecom Ltd I.P. Khaitan and Kiran Khaitan, Essar Group Director (Strategy and Planning) Vikash Saraf and three telecom firms – Loop Telecom, Loop Mobile India and Essar Tele Holding – in a separate case arising out of the 2G scam probe.
On April 18, the CBI challenged the acquittal of Ruias and the six others.
The CBI had named them in its charge sheet on December 12, 2011, alleging they had cheated the Department of Telecommunication (DoT) by using Loop Telecom as a “front” to secure 2G licences in 2008 in violation of Clause 8 of the Unified Access Service License (UASL) Guidelines.
In the main 2G case, Mr. Raja, Ms. Kanimozhi and the 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. – The Hindu