New Delhi: In view of the shocking death of former telecom minister A Raja`s close associate Sadiq Batcha last month, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has secured protection for the seven key prosecution witnesses in the 2G spectrum case.
Reports on Friday claimed that the central probe agency had demanded extra security cover for the witnesses, who could provide vital leads related to the case, citing `grave threat` to their lives.
In a letter addressed to the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), the CBI has stated that “the matter is sensitive and influential people are involved in it. And there is `grave threat` to their life so security should be provided to them."
The CBI’s request for extra security comes despite all key witnesses being provided security cover by the Centre as well as by the state governments.
On Wednesday, Special Public Prosecutor UU Lalit informed the CBI court that the probe agency is worried about the safety of those who are crucial in the case and also opposed the bail pleas of accused persons.
If reports are to be believed, the CBI fears that the high-profile persons accused in the case may cause physical harm to those who are likely to depose against them in the court. Since the witnesses have given statements against Raja and others and are due to appear in the court, the CBI does not want to take chance with their safety.
The seven witnesses who have given their statements under Section 164 of the Cr PC to the magistrate implicating Raja and his co-accused are- Aseervatham Achary (former additional PS to A Raja), RP Aggarwal (the then Wireless Advisor), Ashok Wadhwa (Group CEO of Ambit Holdings), Ashish Karyekar (GM of Reliance Infrastructure), AK Srivastava (then DDG in DoT), Ram Jee Singh Kushvaha (Joint Wireless Advisor), and Deodatta Pandit (former company secretary in Reliance ADAG).
The move comes in the wake of suicide committed by Sadiq Batcha, whose rise to prominence and affluence tracked Raja landing important ministries of environment and telecom at the Centre.
Though his widow has attested to the veracity of the "suicide note" where Batcha attributed his extreme step to depression, that has not quelled suspicions of foul play. CBI has now taken over the matter from the Tamil Nadu police to ascertain whether Batcha really committed a suicide or not.
The witnesses have given substantial leads for investigations into the roles of Raja, Shahid Balwa, Sidhartha Behura, RK Chandolia and several other corporate honchos. In total, there are 125 witnesses in the case but these seven have been cited as key witnesses by the CBI in the 2G spectrum case.