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2G case: Court records statements of 153 witnesses

Last Updated: Wednesday, November 27, 2013 - 18:59

New Delhi: Two years after the commencement of trial in the 2G spectrum allocation scam, a special court today concluded the recording of statement of CBI witnesses in the case involving former Telecom Minister A Raja, DMK MP Kanimozhi, some top corporates and its executives.

The investigating agency informed the court that they are closing the prosecution evidence in the case after the judge concluded the recording of statement of CBI`s Superintendent of Police Vivek Priyadarshi, the chief investigating officer.

"I close the prosecution evidence," senior public prosecutor K K Goel told Special CBI Judge O P Saini.

The court has recorded statements of 153 CBI witnesses, including Reliance ADAG Chairman Anil Ambani, his wife Tina Ambani, former corporate lobbyist Niira Radia and Attorney General G E Vahanvati, running into over 4,400 pages in the case involving Raja and 16 others.

The court has now fixed the matter for January 20. In the meantime, it will go ahead with the recording of evidence of CBI witnesses in the case involving promoters of Essar Group, Loop Telecom and others, who have been arrayed as accused in a case linked to the 2G scam.

In the case against promoters of Essar Group, Loop Telecom and others, the court has till now recorded statements of 83 prosecution witnesses.

The stage for the trial in the case involving Raja and 16 others, which had started on November 11, 2011, was set after the court had framed charges against the 17, including three telecom firms, named in the first two charge sheets saying there was sufficient prima facie evidence against them.

The proceedings in the case, conducted by the special CBI court set up exclusively to deal with the 2G spectrum case, is also being monitored by the Supreme Court.

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 in the case.

Besides these 14 accused persons, three telecom firms -- Swan Telecom Pvt Ltd (STPL), Reliance Telecom Ltd and Unitech Wireless (Tamil Nadu) Ltd -- are also facing trial in the case. They have been arrayed as accused in the first two CBI charge sheets filed on April 2 and 25, 2011 respectively.

The court had on October 22, 2011 framed charges against them under various 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.

The CBI on December 12, 2011, had filed its charge sheet against Essar Group promoters Ravi Ruia and Anshuman Ruia, and Loop Telecom promoters I P Khaitan and Kiran Khaitan for their alleged role in the criminal case linked to the 2G scam.

Essar Group director (Strategy and Planning) Vikash Saraf and three telecom firms -- Loop Telecom Pvt Ltd, Loop Mobile India Ltd and Essar Tele Holdings Ltd -- were also arrayed as accused in the charge sheet for allegedly cheating Department of Telecom (DoT) by using Loop Telecom as a "front" to secure 2G licences in 2008.
The special court on May 25 this year had framed charges of conspiracy to cheat the government against eight accused, including three telecom firms, named in the charge sheet filed on December 12, 2011.
While the court said all the accused were charged with the offence under section 120 B (criminal conspiracy) read with section 420 (cheating) of IPC, the substantial charge of cheating was made out against Saraf only.

First Published: Wednesday, November 27, 2013 - 18:22

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