New Delhi: CBI on Wednesday argued in a special court that the petition filed by Swan Telecom promoter Shahid Usman Balwa, seeking permission to withdraw answers given by him earlier to court in the 2G scam case trial, was nothing but a "sinister design" to take the court for a "ride".
During arguments on the plea filed by Balwa, an accused in the 2G case, Special Public Prosecutor U U Lalit submitted that Balwa's earlier contention that he had failed to understand the questions asked by the court under the provisions of the CrPC was not an "inadvertent error" and it was a "smart and calculated" move.
"This was not an inadvertent error. It was a smart, calculated move. It is a sinister design and it cannot be put under the carpet," Lalit told Special CBI Judge O P Saini, who reserved the order for tomorrow.
He contended that it was a "breach of faith" reposed by the court on the accused and they must be fair to the court.
"This is not something pardonable and it cannot be ignored. Everything was done in a smart, calculated design. How can he (Balwa) sign on the answers (which is on the court's record) if he did not understand the questions," he said.
He said that if CBI did not bring it to the court's notice, the same would have gone in the record.
"It is nothing but falsehood at every juncture. This is the most reprehensible conduct. There is no doubt that we have been taken for a ride," he said.
During the hearing, senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi and advocate Vijay Aggarwal, who appeared for Balwa, told the court that it was only an inadvertent error and nothing had been done deliberately.
On CBI's contentions that bail granted earlier to Balwa may be cancelled, Rohatgi said it was not the case that his client has tampered with evidence or threatened any witness.
"I do not claim that I have not understood the questions. This was a mere error....The court may scrap the entire questions and ask the whole thing again to this man (Balwa)," he said.
He also told the judge that if the court feels that something wrong has been done, he was offering unconditional apology.
Advocate Aggarwal told the judge that no prejudice has been caused and the court had clarified all the questions to the accused during the recording of their statements.
"We have an unblemished conduct. We are sorry for the inconvenience caused," he said.
CBI had earlier sought cancellation of the bail granted to Balwa, saying his conduct requires reconsideration and recall of the relief given to him earlier.
"The conduct of A-4 (Balwa) in replying to the questions by including objectionable content thereafter is certainly in flagrant violation and breach of faith so reposed and the condition so imposed and, as such, the grant of bail to him requires reconsideration and recall by the court," CBI had said.
The agency had also said that the court should take proper action on the issue as per the law and may cancel the bail granted to the accused.
It had also claimed that the "slant" in replies given by Balwa reflects that the objectionable content was not inadvertent but deliberately included.
Balwa, who had earlier faced the court's ire when it observed that he "deserved" to be taken into custody for his misconduct, had filed a plea contending that he will "not raise any question of prejudice caused to him on grounds of non-understanding of any questions" asked by the court.
He had said that during the recording of his statement, which was deferred by the judge, all the questions were "explained properly" by the court and, due to "some inadvertence", it was recorded in some answers that he was not able to understand what was being asked.
Balwa had apologised to the judge, saying he had not done anything intentionally.
The stage for the recording of evidence of former Telecom Minister A Raja and 16 other co-accused, including DMK MP Kanimozhi, was set earlier when the court supplied a draft questionnaire to the accused containing 1,718 questions and running into 824 pages.
Besides Raja, Kanimozhi and Balwa, former Telecom Secretary Siddharth Behura, Raja's erstwhile private secretary R K Chandolia, Vinod Goenka, Unitech Ltd MD Sanjay Chandra and Reliance ADAG executives Gautam Doshi, Surendra Pipara and Hari Nair are facing trial in the case.
Directors of Kusegaon Fruits and Vegetables Pvt Ltd, Asif Balwa and Rajiv Agarwal, Sharad Kumar and Bollywood producer Karim Morani are also accused in the case.
Besides these 14 accused, three telecom firms Swan Telecom Pvt Ltd, Reliance Telecom Ltd and Unitech Wireless (Tamil Nadu) Ltd are also facing trial in the case.