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2G: Essar Group, Loop Telecom to answer 645 queries

PTI | Last Updated: Wednesday, April 9, 2014 - 22:27

New Delhi: Promoters of Essar Group and Loop Telecom, facing trial in a case arising out of the probe into 2G spectrum allocation scam, will have to face 645 questions of a Delhi court.

Special CBI Judge O P Saini, who was scheduled to supply the questionnaire to the eight accused on April 16, provided the questions running into 308 pages to their counsel Wednesday.

The court has now fixed the matter for May 5 for recording the statements of the accused on those questions which are mandatory under section 313 (power to examine the accused) of the CrPC.

Essar Group promoters Ravi Ruia and Anshuman Ruia, Loop Telecom promoters Kiran Khaitan, her husband I P Khaitan and Essar Group Director (Strategy and Planning) Vikash Saraf are facing trial in the case along with three firms -- Loop Telecom Ltd, Loop Mobile India Ltd and Essar Tele Holding Ltd.

All of them have denied the charges levelled by CBI in the case arising out of the probe into the 2G spectrum scam.

The court on March 27 had supplied a draft questionnaire, containing 1,718 questions running into 824 pages, to the 17 accused, including former Telecom Minister A Raja, DMK MP Kanimozhi and some top corporate executives, who are facing trial in the 2G case.

The court, which had in November last year concluded the recording of prosecution evidence in the case in which Raja and others are facing trial, would start the recording of statements of the accused from April 21.

In the case involving promoters of Essar Group and Loop Telecom, the court had framed charges against all the accused for offences under section 120 B (criminal conspiracy) read with section 420 (cheating) of the IPC, while the substantial charge of cheating was made out against Saraf only.

CBI had filed charge sheet against them, alleging they had cheated the DoT by using Loop Telecom as a "front" to secure 2G licences in 2008.

During the recording of evidence in the case, which had commenced on July 26, 2012, the court had recorded statements of 95 CBI witnesses, running into 1,056 pages.

In the case involving Raja and others, the court had on October 22, 2011 framed charges against them under provisions of the IPC and the Prevention of Corruption Act dealing with offences of criminal conspiracy, cheating, forgery, faking documents, abusing official position, criminal misconduct by public servant and taking bribe.

The offences entail punishment ranging from six months in jail to life imprisonment.

Besides Raja and Kanimozhi, former Telecom Secretary Siddharth Behura, Raja's erstwhile private secretary R K Chandolia, Swan Telecom promoters Shahid Usman Balwa and Vinod Goenka, Unitech Ltd MD Sanjay Chandra, three top executives of Reliance Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group (RADAG) -- 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, Kalaignar TV Director Sharad Kumar and Bollywood producer Karim Morani are also accused.

Besides these 14 accused, three telecom firms Swan Telecom Pvt Ltd (STPL), Reliance Telecom Ltd and Unitech Wireless (Tamil Nadu) Ltd are also facing trial.

First Published: Wednesday, April 9, 2014 - 22:27
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