2G: HC reserves verdict on corporate chieftains` bail pleas

Last Updated: Monday, May 9, 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

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.


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First Published: Monday, May 9, 2011 - 20:39

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