CBI witnesses statements made court frame charges
A special court here considered the statements of witnesses presented by the CBI while framing charges against former communications minister A. Raja and 16 others for criminal breach of trust, bribery, forgery and cheating.
New Delhi: A special court here considered the statements of witnesses presented by the CBI while framing charges against former communications minister A. Raja and 16 others for criminal breach of trust, bribery, forgery and cheating in the 2G spectrum case.
The witnesses would be examined during the trial that begins Nov 11.
Trusting the statements of Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) witnesses, Special Judge O.P. Saini Saturday said that there was incriminating material on record against Raja and 16 others.
The court said that there was direct evidence against Raja, his former aide R.K. Chandolia and former telecom secretary Siddharth Behura.
The court observed that witness Desh Raj, a clerk in department of telecommunications (DoT), stated that the files of Swam Telecom and Unitech Wireless were put up by Chandolia before Raja for signing the licence agreements.
Witness R.P. Parmesh Kumar talked about the relationship between Swan Telecom`s Shahid Usman Balwa and accused Raja through his family members.
"Balwa was present in person in the DoT on Jan 1, 2008. LOIs (Letters of intent) were received by him in person," the court noted while framing charges.
Witness Aseervatham Achari in his statement said that Unitech Wireless` Sanjay Chandra used to visit Raja and Chandolia when Raja was minister of environment and forests. Other witnesses added that Unitech Wireless was ineligible on the date of application.
While framing charges against Asif Balwa and Rajiv B. Agarwal, both directors of Kusegaon Fruits and Vegetables Pvt. Ltd., the court observed that the decision to an extend unsecured loan of Rs.209.25 crore was jointly taken by the two.
"The allegation are that bribe of Rs.200 crore was paid in consideration of grant of spectrum to Swan Telecom, a company made accused in the case, which was received by Kalignar TV on behalf of accused Raja of which accused (DMK MP) Kanimozhi and Sharad Kumar are partners," the court said.
"They (Asif Balwa and Rajiv B. Agarwal) took directions from Shahid Balwa and Vinod Goenka of DB croup for such heavy transaction," said Achari`s statement, adding that Raja and Kanimozhi were close to each other and visited each other`s residence frequently.
The court said: "I have extracted evidence against each accused in the brief to show that there is incriminating material on record against each accused."
"Apart from the statement and documents brief mentioned, there is incriminating material in other statements and documents also, but referring the same in detail would burden this order unnecessarily and, as such, the same has not been referred," the judge observed in his order.
It is contrary to the record to say that there was no evidence on record against any accused, it said.
The judge also observed that there was enough evidence for framing of charges against telecom firms Swan Telecom, Unitech (Tamil Nadu) Wireless Ltd. and another company.
The court also found prima facie evidence of abuse of official position by Raja, Chandolia and Behura.
The CBI, in its first charge sheet filed April 2, accused Raja and others with causing a loss of Rs.30,984 crore to the exchequer by allocating spectrum to ineligible operators as per a criminal conspiracy among themselves.
The judge Saini also ordered that trial in the case will begin Nov 11 as all the accused refusing to plead guilty to various offences.