2G: HC reserves verdict on corporate chieftains` bail pleas
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Last Updated: Monday, May 09, 2011, 20:39
  
New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Monday reserved its verdict on the bail pleas of five corporate executives, including three top Reliance ADA group honchos, arrested for their alleged roles in the 2G spectrum allocation scam involving former Telecom Minister A Raja.

Justice Ajit Bharihoke reserved his order on bail pleas on Swan Telecom director Vinod Goenka and Unitech Ltd's managing director Sanjay Chandra and the three Reliance ADAG officials after CBI's Special Public Prosecutor UU Lalit concluded his argument vehemently opposing their bail pleas.

The three top Reliance ADAG executives, who have been held for their roles in the scam are group's managing director Gautam Doshi, president Hari Nair and senior vice president Surendra Pipara.

The five were taken in custody on April 20 after a special CBI court, set up to try the 2G scam case, dismissed their bail pleas.

Earlier a battery of top lawyers, including former union law minister Ram Jethmalani, former attorney general Soli J Sorabji, former Additional solicitor general Mukul Rohatgi and senior counsel Rajiv Nayar and NK Kaul had made strong pleas for bail to their respective clients in arguments spanning over a fortnight.

CBI Special Public Prosecutor UU Lalit, specifically appointed by the apex court to assist the agency in conducting the 2G case trial vehemently opposed their bail pleas saying that all of them were deeply involved in the scam, which caused a whopping loss of Rs 30,984 crore to the exchequer.

Lalit began his argument after Justice Bhariohke virtually snubbed Jethamalani and stopped him from making some additional, last-minute points for bail to his client Unitech Ltd director Chandra.

"Enough is enough," said Justice Bharihoke, adding "the hearing has been going on for last several days and if you want I will post the matter for sometime in September."

"This is not the way. Every time you come with some point and argue for long and this is delaying the hearing," the court said.

Opposing the bail pleas, Special Public Prosecutor Lalit said that Swan Telecom and Unitech Wireless are the direct beneficiaries of the spectrum allocation scam.

Goenka and Swan Telecom promoter Shahid Usman Balwa had conspired with Raja to obtain the spectrum licence in the lucrative telecom circles of Delhi and Mumbai.

Lalit contended that Swan was at priority number five as per the First-Come-Fisrt-Served (FCFS) policy but Raja altered the policy to benefit it.

"The policy was changed and court needs to see under what circumstance it was changed and why. To favour somebody the policy was altered," Lalit argued.

After the change in policy, Swan became first in the priority list for sole slot of spectrum in Delhi though the Spice telecom was senior as it had applied in August 2006 where as Swan had applied in March 2007, he argued.

Similarly in Mumbai, the company got second priority though it had applied much later than other companies, he pointed out.

"As per the ill-conceived design, they knew exactly what was to be done and how it was to be done," Lalit made the remark while referring to the allegation in the charge sheet.

Pleading to the court against grant of bail to the five, Lalit said as per the charge sheet Goenka and Balwa had also forged some documents including the minutes of meeting to make the company eligible for the licence.

The senior counsel submitted that Raja was sitting on the application of Tata teleservices adding "Tata's plea was suppressed deliberately. Had Tatas been given licence, nothing would have been left for Swan."

Lalit said till the licence was granted to Swan in February 2008, Tatas application was kept pending for no reason.

He argued that Unitech Wireless too was given licence by manipulating the policy.

Unitech Wireless was at 12th slot as per the priority list, but due to alteration of the policy and change in the cut-off date it rose to third place in the priority.

"As per the instruction of the minister, the application of Unitech Wireless was accepted and after that no other application was taken for consideration," Lalit said.

On the transfer of Rs 200 crore to Kalaignar TV in the entire deal, the counsel said "Goenka and Balwa were instrumental in the illegal transaction".

He said that when dual technology was allowed, Reliance ADAG sold its firm Swan Telecom to DB group as it itself had become eligible for the 2G licence.

According to Lalit, Goenka and Balwa had prior knowledge of getting the licence as they had made official requests to the PNB bank to expeditiously prepare the demand draft for payment of entry fee to the DoT.

PTI


First Published: Monday, May 09, 2011, 20:39


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