New Delhi: Swan Telecom Promoter Shahid Usman Balwa, facing trial in the 2G spectrum case, on Monday told special CBI court that it was protecting former Telecom Secretary D S Mathur, a key witness in the case.
Balwa's counsel alleged Mathur was protected by the court as he was not allowed to cross-examine Mathur, who is one of the star witnesses named by the CBI to prove its case.
"The court is protecting the witness (Mathur). You (Judge) are not allowing me to ask questions. This is our right and we can ask questions to the witnesses during cross examination," Senior advocate R N Mittal told Special CBI Judge O P Saini.
The lawyer had got irked after the judge disallowed one of his questions relating to Mathur's statement made in the court on April 9.
Mathur, on the following day, had told the court that he had made a "mistake" while recording his statement on April 9 and had subsequently corrected it.
On sudden outburst by the defence counsel today, the judge told Mittal that his question was disallowed as it was "irrelevant".
"This question has already been asked. Who is protecting the witness?," the judge asked him.
To this, Mittal told the judge that he had always protected Mathur and had not permitted the defence lawyers to ask questions to him.
"You (judge) are always trying to protect this (Mathur) witness. This (accused asking questions from witness) is permissible in law and I (as a defence counsel) could ask questions to the witness. Why are you (judge) shouting at us (defence counsel) all the time?," Mittal retorted.
The judge brushed aside the allegations by Balwa's counsel and said, "Who is shouting? It is you (Mittal) who is shouting. No one is protecting the witness."