A Delhi court on Tuesday reserved its order on CBI plea to summon additional prosecution witnesses, including Enforcement Directorate’s Deputy Director Rajeshwar Singh, in a 2G spectrum allocation case which was opposed by former Telecom Minister A Raja and DMK MP Kanimozhi.
Special CBI Judge O P Saini fixed November 18 for pronouncing the order after hearing arguments during which some of the high-profile accused questioned the intention of agency to file plea at the fag end of the trial.
While Raja and Kanimozhi questioned the legality of CBI’s move, some of the businessmen accused said the agency’s intentions were malafide and it was delaying the trial as the evidence in the case has already been closed.
Counsel appearing for Raja said that the two ED officers’ statements which CBI wanted to get recorded in the court cannot be read as evidence.
Even if the agency is granted permission to record their statements, the court cannot rely on them, he contended.
Similarly, Kanimozhi’s lawyer sought dismissal of the plea, saying the agency has filed the application at a “highly belated stage” when the recording of evidence has already been closed and they were trying to fill up the lacunae now.
Advocate Vijay Aggarwal, who appeared for Shahid Balwa and Asif Balwa, said there was an inordinate delay in filing the application for which CBI has not explained reasons.
During the day, Special Public Prosecutor Anand Grover argued that under provision of the CrPC even after closing of evidence in a case, an application for summoning material witnesses is maintainable.
CBI moved the plea seeking court’s permission to summon some prosecution witnesses and to place additional documents on record, saying they were necessary to arrive at the truth.
Besides Rajeshwar Singh, CBI has sought permission to call ED’s Assistant Director Satyendra Singh, Under Secretary of Ministry of Information and Broadcasting Navil Kapur and bank official D Mani.
Apart from these four persons, the agency has sought to recall General Manager (Finance) of Kalaignar TV (P) Ltd G Rajendran, who had earlier deposed as a witness in the case, for further examination.
The CBI plea was also opposed by several other accused, including Swan Telecom promoter Vinod Goenka and Unitech Ltd MD Sanjay Chandra.
Aggarwal argued that it was the “sinister design” and deliberate move of CBI to file the plea after the accused got their statements recorded in the court and even the defence evidence has been completed.
“CBI is unnecessarily delaying the trial of the case. I am pressing the malafide intentions of the CBI because of timing of filing of the application,” he said.
Counsel for Goenka and Chandra also sought dismissal of the agency plea and argued that if the application would be allowed, it would cause prejudice to the accused.
The court had earlier issued notice to all the accused seeking their replies on CBI’s application after the agency had placed some additional information before the court.
In its plea, CBI said these persons were required to be examined as witnesses as some new facts have emerged in the investigation conducted by ED which had filed a separate charge sheet against 19 accused in a 2G scam-related money laundering case.
Besides Raja and Kanimozhi, former Telecom Secretary Sidharth Behura, Raja’s erstwhile private secretary R K Chandolia, Swan Telecom promoters Shahid Usman Balwa and Vinod Goenka, Unitech Ltd MD Sanjay Chandra, Reliance ADAG executives Gautam Doshi, Surendra Pipara and Hari Nair are facing trial in the case.
Bollywood producer Karim Morani, Kalaignar TV Managing Director Sharad Kumar and Directors of Kusegaon Fruits and Vegetables Pvt Ltd Asif Balwa and Rajiv Agarwal, are also facing trial.
Besides them, three telecom firms — Swan Telecom Pvt Ltd, Reliance Telecom Ltd and Unitech Wireless (Tamil Nadu) Pvt Ltd — are also accused in the case.
The court had on October 22, 2011, framed charges against them under various provisions of IPC and the Prevention of Corruption Act dealing with offences of criminal conspiracy, cheating, forgery, faking documents, criminal misconduct by public servant, taking bribe and abusing official position.