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2G case: Accused oppose CBI's plea to put Radia CD on record

An accused in 2G spectrum scam case Thursday opposed in a Delhi court CBI's plea for placing on record a CD of former corporate lobbyist Niira Radia's taped conversations and the transcripts of her calls purportedly pertaining to radio waves allocation.

New Delhi: An accused in 2G spectrum scam case Thursday opposed in a Delhi court CBI's plea for placing on record a CD of former corporate lobbyist Niira Radia's taped conversations and the transcripts of her calls purportedly pertaining to radio waves allocation.

The accused alleged the agency's plea has been filed after a long delay and is "mischievous".

However, senior advocate U U Lalit, appearing for CBI, said that as per the order of the apex court, the original hard disk containing 5800 conversations has been kept in a sealed cover and if need arises, the agency will move the top court seeking permission for placing all the material (5800 conversations) in this court.

During arguments, counsel for accused Shahid Usman Balwa, promoter of Swan Telecom, opposed CBI's application on the ground that the agency had received a hard disk containing Radia's taped telephonic conversations from the Income Tax Department in 2010 and it should have placed them on record earlier.

"It's a very mischievously drafted application by CBI.

At the time of filing charge sheet in 2011, the agency had given us (accused) only 12 transcripts of the conversations and no CD was provided to us at that time.

"Transcripts without the CD are not permissible in law but if the CD comes on record now, then we would have to cross examine all the witnesses again with respect to the CD containing Radia's conversations," advocate Vijay Aggarwal, appearing for Balwa, said, adding "CBI is taking the court for granted".

He said earlier CBI had given a statement that it has brought all the documents it did not rely on in court, then from where these 50 more transcripts have come.

Former Telecom Minister A Raja's counsel sought dismissal of CBI's plea saying the application does not mention the reason for not submitting these documents earlier.

He also said though CBI's application seeks to place on record a letter dated May 20, 2010 of the Income Tax Department it has not been filed by the agency.

The court directed CBI to give copies of the May 20, 2010 letter of Income Tax Department and another document to the accused. Arguments will continue tomorrow.

CBI had moved the court, saying that out of the 62 taped conversations of 53-year-old Radia, it had already submitted transcripts of 12 conversations before it and now it wanted to place on record the rest for "fairness" and "completeness". It also sought the court's permission to give a CD containing Radia's 62 taped conversations.

Lalit said the transcripts are related to conversations between Radia and other individuals and the calls were intercepted by the Income Tax Department.

He also said that out of these 62, CBI is relying only on the 12 conversations whose transcripts it had earlier given to the defence.

He also said a total of 5800 calls were intercepted by the IT Department and only these 62 conversations are directly or remotely related to 2G spectrum case.

Due to this plea of the agency, the court had on May 28 deferred recording of Radia's statement which would continue after the issue is decided.

Meanwhile, the court also reserved its order on another plea of CBI for recalling prosecution witness Nitin Jain, whose statement has already been recorded, on the ground that there "appears to be slight inconsistency" in his testimony regarding the cut-off date.

The court also deferred to July 16 the hearing on CBI's separate plea seeking to make 17 persons, including Reliance ADAG Chairman Anil Ambani and his wife Tina Ambani, as witnesses in the case.

In the transcripts produced before the court, Radia is allegedly discussing the issue of lobbying for 2G licences for her clients Unitech and Tata Tele Services Ltd (TTSL) and how certain rivals were on the verge of getting it.

Earlier, in her deposition as a prosecution witness in the case, Radia had said TTSL, which was ahead in the queue for allocation of 2G spectrum, lost the race while an "ineligible" Swan Telecom, said to be owned by ADAG Reliance Communications, was granted the radiowaves.

Radia, who appeared for the first time in the court on May 28 as a CBI witness, had said she was advising the Tatas on telecom issues and TTSL had opposed the allocation of spectrum to Swan Telecom Pvt Ltd (STPL) and Reliance Communications Ltd.

CBI, in its charge sheet, had alleged Reliance Telecom Ltd (RTL), an accused in the case, used Swan Telecom, an ineligible firm, as its front company to get licences and the costly radio waves.

STPL and its promoters, Shahid Usman Balwa and Vinod Goenka, who were arrested and are at present on bail, face trial in the case along with Raja, DMK MP Kanimozhi and others.

In her statement recorded during the probe under section 161 of the CrPC (dealing with examination of witnesses) before CBI, Radia had said STPL, facing trial in the 2G case, was "not eligible" to get the Unified Access Service (UAS) licences.


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