2G: Reliance honcho objected to statement recorded by CBI
A top Reliance ADA Group official on Wednesday told a Delhi court that two days before the commencement of the trial in 2G spectrum allocation case, CBI had called him to its office in a "suspicious manner" where he objected to the content of his statement recorded during the probe.
A N Sethuraman, Group President of Reliance ADAG, told Special CBI Judge O P Saini that when he had visited the CBI office on November 9, two days before the start of the trial, he had raised objection to the statement recorded by the agency during probe and wanted to change it, which was not allowed.
Deposing as the second prosecution witness, Sethuraman said a CBI officer told him that "it was too late and I cannot change my statement now".
He was called to the CBI office to read his statement recorded by the agency earlier, Sethuraman said.
"It was last Wednesday, that is, November 9, 2011, when I was called to the CBI office," Sethuraman said adding "I was not satisfied with contents of my statement and I protested to the (CBI) officer to change the content thereof relating to identification of signatures of Hari Nair (a Reliance ADAG official and accused in the case)".
Sethuraman said his statement recorded by CBI reads that he identified the signatures of Nair whereas he wanted it to be recorded as "it appears to be the signature of Hari Nair".
"I renewed my protest in this regard on November 9 also. My objection was regarding identification of signatures of Hari Nair as the officer had recorded that I identified his signatures but I wished that instead of this 'appears to be signatures of Hari Nair' may be recorded," he said, adding "my objection was not heeded to".
Sethuraman said he had also raised the objection in this regard when his statement was recorded by CBI in March 2011 during the probe.
During cross examination by the counsel for accused, he said he had visited CBI's office on November 9 after receiving a telephone call but it did not strike him to ask the officer to call him in an official manner.
He said after meeting the officer, he also did not ask why he was being called in such a "suspicious manner".
Sethuraman told the court that CBI had made more than 10 phone calls on his mobile number on November 9 to call him to the agency's office.
He said the CBI officer also did not accept his request to postpone his visit by a day.
"Before asking the purpose of my visit, I had asked the CBI officer if I could come on the next day. He told me to come at the reception of the new CBI office on the same day at 3:30 PM. I could not make out if I was being called for an official or unofficial purpose," Sethuraman said adding he did not make any entry in the register at the reception of the agency's office.
During his cross-examination, Sethuraman said that when the applications for the Unified Access Service Licence (UASL) was filed on behalf of Swan telecom, the then Telecom Minister was Dayanidhi Maran and "in the process of submitting the applications, no favours were shown to Swan Telecom Pvt Ltd by any official of DoT, ministry or any other public servant".
Sethuraman also said he did not remember if the then Solicitor General of India had given any opinion about provisions of UASL guidelines dealing with "associate company".
Sethuraman said he "believed" UASL guidelines were complied with while applying for 2G licenses on behalf of Swan Telecom and he also checked the compliance of the same with Anand Bhatt, a Director of Swan Telecom.
"I did check the compliance of these clauses (of UASL guidelines) with Anand Bhatt who had sent the applications. I believed that these clauses were complied with. I do not know if some of the clauses were to be complied with at the time of applications and some at later stages," he said.
The cross examination of Sethuraman would continue Thursday.
CBI, in its charge sheet, has alleged Swan Telecom was a front company of Reliance Telecom Ltd which held 9.9 percent stakes in the former firm. However, it was also alleged that a web of companies were created to hold complete control of Swan Telecom.
Three top officials of Reliance ADA Group have been put on trial in 2G case along with Reliance Telecom Ltd on the ground that Swan Telecom was "just a mask" for it, which has been denied by the firm.