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Witness deliberately supressing facts to save Shahid Balwa: CBI

Last Updated: Tuesday, September 25, 2012 - 21:01

New Delhi: CBI on Tuesday alleged in a Delhi court that a retired bank official was "deliberately supressing" facts about his conversation with Swan Telecom promoter Shahid Usman Balwa to save him from punishment in the 2G spectrum allocation scam case.

The agency said Sanat Kumar Aggarwal, who is a prosecution witness, is supressing facts about his conversation with Balwa on November 9, 2007 regarding the likely date of distribution of letter of intents (LoIs) for 2G licences by the Department of Telecom (DoT).

The prosecutor said Aggarwal, who retired as Deputy General Manager of Punjab National Bank, Mumbai branch, had recorded his statement with CBI during the probe into the case that Balwa, who is one of the main accused in the scam, had spoken to him on November 9, 2007 about the likely date of distribution of LoIs.

However, during the trial, the former banker said he did not remember if he had given such a statement, which prompted the CBI counsel to accuse him of resiling from his earlier statement.

CBI prosecutor A K Singh then sought the permission of Special Judge O P Saini to cross examine Aggarwal who said he was not supressing facts to save Balwa from legal punishment.

"It is wrong to suggest that I am deliberately suppressing the fact of my conversation with Shahid Usman Balwa on November 9, 2007 and November 13, 2007. It is wrong to suggest that I am doing so in order to save him (Balwa) from legal punishment," Aggarwal said.

The prosecutor also confronted Aggarwal with his statement made before CBI earlier in which it was mentioned that Balwa had spoken to him on November 9, 2007.

Aggarwal, however, said "I do not remember the name of the official of the company who had spoken to me on November 9, 2007 regarding likely date of distribution of LoIs."

CBI, in its charge sheet, had said accused firms Swan Telecom and Unitech Wireless (Tamil Nadu) Ltd had prior knowledge of the first-come-first-serve process and had been keeping their demand drafts ready since early October-November 2007.

During the recording of statement, Aggarwal said the Fort Branch of Punjab National Bank in Mumbai deals primarily with corporate clients.

On being shown a bank file, he said it pertains to credit facilities to Swan Telecom as the company had sought "term loan" and "bank guarantee" for seeking licence from the DoT.

He said the application of Swan Telecom was received by the bank on October 13, 2007 and during this period, Balwa and other top officials of the firm used to hold discussions with him.

During the hearing, the court allowed the plea of DMK MP Kanimozhi, an accused in the 2G case, seeking exemption from personal appearance on September 27 and 28 on account of some "urgent political work."

"....Applicant/accused Kanimozhi is exempted from personal appearance in court for September 27 and 28, 2012, subject to the conditions that her identity shall not be disputed and her counsel shall remain present in court and shall actually participate in court proceedings," the judge said after CBI did not object to her plea.

Raja, Balwa and Kanimozhi, along with others, are facing trial in the case for various offences like cheating, forgery, criminal conspiracy and faking documents under the IPERCENT and for the offences punishable under Prevention of Corruption Act.


First Published: Tuesday, September 25, 2012 - 21:01
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