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'Neither read charge sheet nor knew when Raja became minister'

PTI | Last Updated: Monday, October 21, 2013 - 19:54

New Delhi: In an interesting development, a senior CBI official, who was in the team investigating the 2G spectrum scam, on Monday told a Delhi court that he neither read the charge sheet of the case nor was he aware that key accused A Raja had become Telecom Minister in May 2007.

CBI Deputy Superintendent of Police V M Mittal, who was deposing as a prosecution witness, told this to the court when he was cross examined by one of the defence counsel regarding joining of Raja and his private secretary R K Chandolia, also an accused, in the ministry of communication and information technology.

"I do not know if A Raja took over as minister of communication and information technology in May 2007. I do not know if R K Chandolia joined as his private secretary in May 2007. I have not read the charge sheet of this case," he told special CBI judge O P Saini.

During cross examination, which would continue tomorrow, Mittal denied the suggestion of defence counsel Vijay Aggarwal that he had falsely implicated Chandolia in the case and had not "deliberately" brought on record the documents which were favourable to the accused.

"It is wrong to suggest that I have carried out a biased and shoddy investigation. It is wrong to suggest that I did not record the correct version of the witnesses.

"It is wrong to suggest that it was a pre-concluded decision to charge sheet the accused persons irrespective of the material being favourable to or against them. It is wrong to suggest that I pleaded ignorance regarding various facts as the same were favourable to the accused persons," he said.

The counsel appearing for Swan Telecom Promoter Shahid Balwa, also an accused, asked Mittal about documents regarding transfer of Rs 1,700 crore from Tata Realty Infrastructure Ltd to Unitech group companies and the IO said that he do not know if he had received those documents in February 2011.

"I do not know if these funds were used by Unitech group companies for preparing demand drafts for depositing with the DoT. Tata Group was to acquire some land from Unitech group companies situated in Fazilka and Badshapur villages in Gurgaon," Mittal told the court.

"Some investigation was conducted by me in this regard, but I do not remember who was the owner of the land and whether the same was valued as per market price. Some part of the aforesaid money was returned by Unitech group companies to Tata group," he said adding, "I cannot say if this money was part of the aforesaid Rs 1,700 crore or not."

During the day, the court rejected the plea of private firm director Asif Balwa, an accused facing trial in the case, for summoning of four witnesses, including two CBI officers, to record their statements during the trial.

In his plea filed through advocate Vijay Aggarwal, Balwa said that investigating officers are being examined as witnesses in the case, but the CBI has not examined Pankaj Bansal and Vikas Kumar Pathak, both officers of CBI, who had participated in the probe.

He also said that statement of two private persons, V S Iyer and Shamik Das, who were examined as witnesses by the CBI, should also be recorded in the court as it was necessary for the defence of the accused.

CBI prosecutor K K Goel, however, opposed the plea saying prosecution evidence is still going on and the application was not maintainable at this stage.

"Furthermore, I have myself gone through the entire record and I do not find any necessity to examine these witnesses as court witnesses, at least at this stage.

"In view of the law and facts quoted above, I do not find any merit in the application. The application has been moved just to waste the time of the court and deserves to be dismissed with heavy cost.

"However, I am not inclined to impose any cost in the sincere hope that the accused shall desist himself from filing such vexatious application in future. Accordingly, application is dismissed," the judge said.

First Published: Monday, October 21, 2013 - 19:54
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