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2G case: Court fixes March 3 to record statement of accused

Monday, 20 January 2014 - 6:20pm IST | Place: New Delhi | Agency: PTI

A special CBI court on Monday fixed March 3 for recording the statements of the accused in the 2G spectrum allocation scam including former Telecom Minister A Raja, DMK MP Kanimozhi, some top corporates and executives.

Special CBI Judge O P Saini adjourned the matter till the next date as the questions to be put to the accused were not yet ready.

"Questions for section 313 of the CrPC (recording of statement of accused) are not yet ready. List on March 3," the court said.

The judge was initially going to set a date in February but fixed March 3 after the counsel for the accused sought more time.

He told the defence to "concentrate on the case" after they moved a number of applications ranging from seeking additional documents to release of passport for renewal.

The court, on November 27, 2013, had concluded recording of statement of CBI witnesses in the case after the deposition of CBI's Superintendent of Police Vivek Priyadarshi, the chief investigating officer, got over.

The court has recorded statements of 153 CBI witnesses, including Reliance ADAG Chairman Anil Ambani, his wife Tina Ambani, former corporate lobbyist Niira Radia and Attorney General G E Vahanvati, running into over 4,400 pages in the case allegedly involving Raja and 16 others.

The court has also concluded recording of evidence of CBI witnesses in the case, arising out of the investigation into the 2G spectrum scam, involving the promoters of Essar Group, Loop Telecom and others.

During the recording of evidence in the case, which had commenced on July 26 last year, the court has recorded the statements of 95 CBI witnesses, running into 1,056 pages.

The stage for the start of the trial on November 11, 2011 was set after the court framed charges against the 17, including three telecom firms, named in the first two charge sheets saying there was sufficient prima facie evidence against them.

The proceedings in the case, conducted by the special CBI court set up exclusively to deal with the 2G spectrum case, are also being monitored by the Supreme Court.

Besides Raja and Kanimozhi, former Telecom Secretary Siddharth Behura, Raja's erstwhile private secretary R K Chandolia, Swan Telecom promoters Shahid Usman Balwa and Vinod Goenka, Unitech Ltd MD Sanjay Chandra, three top executives of Reliance Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group (RADAG) -- Gautam Doshi, Surendra Pipara and Hari Nair -- are facing trial in the case.

Directors of Kusegaon Fruits and Vegetables Pvt Ltd Asif Balwa and Rajiv Agarwal, Kalaignar TV Director Sharad Kumar and Bollywood producer Karim Morani are also accused in the case.

Besides these 14 accused, three telecom firms -- Swan Telecom Pvt Ltd (STPL), Reliance Telecom Ltd and Unitech Wireless (Tamil Nadu) Ltd -- are also facing trial in the case. They have been arrayed as accused in the first two CBI charge sheets filed on April 2 and 25, 2011 respectively.

The court had on October 22, 2011 framed charges against them under provisions of the IPC and Prevention of Corruption Act dealing with offences of criminal conspiracy, cheating, forgery, faking documents, abusing official position, criminal misconduct by public servant and taking bribe.

The offences entail punishment ranging from six months in jail to life imprisonment.

The CBI on December 12, 2011, had filed its charge sheet against Essar Group promoters Ravi Ruia and Anshuman Ruia, and Loop Telecom promoters I P Khaitan and Kiran Khaitan for their alleged role in the criminal case linked to the 2G scam.

Essar Group director (Strategy and Planning) Vikash Saraf and three telecom firms -- Loop Telecom Pvt Ltd, Loop Mobile India Ltd and Essar Tele Holdings Ltd -- were also arrayed as accused in the charge sheet for allegedly cheating Department of Telecom (DoT) by using Loop Telecom as a "front" to secure 2G licences in 2008. 


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