Custody of Raja, 3 others extended till March 31

Last Updated: Thursday, March 17, 2011 - 20:14

New Delhi: The judicial custody of former
Telecom Minister A Raja and his three associates, arraigned in
2G spectrum allocation scam, was on Thursday extended by another
fortnight by a Delhi court on a CBI plea.

The three others whose judicial custody was extended by
Special Judge O P Saini till March 31 included former Telecom
Secretary Siddharth Behura, Raja`s former personal secretary R
K Chandolia and Swan Telecom promoter Shahid Usman Balwa.

The four accused, who were slated to be produced in the
court through video conferencing, had to appear in person
before it due to some technical glitches in the video
conferencing system linking the Tihar Jail, where they are now
lodged, and the Patiala House court complex.

CBI pleaded for continued judicial custody of the four
saying the probe into the case was still going on and the
accused, being "highly influential" persons, may tamper with
the evidence and influence witnesses, if released now.

"The investigation is in progress and is at a crucial
stage. Some more witnesses are yet to be examined and some
more documents are to be collected," CBI said.

The probe agency said the judicial custody of the accused
should be extended by 14 days for "effective and proper
investigation" in the case.

After the proceedings for extension of judicial custody
of the four accused, the court allowed them to meet their
lawyers and family members in the courtroom itself for about
15 minutes.

The judge also sought the Tihar Jail superintendent`s
report on an allegation by Balwa`s advocate Vijay Aggarwal
that despite the court`s earlier order for a proper medical
examination of his client for ailments of orthopaedic and
gastric problems, he was not examined properly.

"The court had earlier directed the Superintendent for
Medical Examination of Balwa as he is suffering from
orthopaedic and gastric problems. But nothing has been done
in this regard," Aggarwal said.

While seeking the Tihar jail official`s explanation on
the allegation by March 25, the court also decided to hear
that day Balwa`s plea for release of his mobile phone seized
by CBI at the time of his arrest.

Raja was arrested by the CBI along with Behura and
Chandolia on February 2, while Balwa was arrested from Mumbai
on February 8. The CBI had lodged the FIR in the case against
some unnamed persons on October 21, 2009.

The four face CBI probe for their alleged roles in
committing various offences under the Prevention of Corruption
Act and the IPC, including those related to abuse of official
positions, hatching criminal conspiracy, cheating, forgery in
process of the allocation of 2G spectrum.

Though the agency has pegged the loss due to spectrum
allocation at Rs 22,000 crore based on the calculations made
by the CVC, the CAG had in its report projected a presumptive
loss of Rs 1.76 lakh crore.

PTI

First Published: Thursday, March 17, 2011 - 20:14

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