2G scam: A Raja and 16 other accused to be on trial

NEW DELHI: Former Telecom Minister A Raja, DMK MP Kanimozhi and 15 others including top corporate honchos will be put on trial in the multi-crore 2G spectrum scam with a Delhi Court today framing charges against them on various counts like criminal conspiracy, breach of trust, cheating and forgery.

All the accused have been charged under Section 409 of IPC for alleged criminal breach of trust which attracts a maximum punishment of life term. The other charges attract various terms in jail.

Special CBI judge O P Saini fixed November 11 for commencement of the trial after all the accused refused to plead guilty to various offences.

The framing of charges may now pave the way for the accused, who have been behind the bars for several months, to seek bail as the Supreme Court had virtually embargoed all the courts not to entertain their plea before framing of charges.

Besides Raja and Kanimozhi, the judge framed charges against corporate executives of Reliance Anil Dhirubhai Ambani group’s Managing Director Gautam Doshi, Surendra Pipara, Group’s President and Hari Nair, senior Vice President, Swan Telecom promoter Shahid Usman Balwa, his cousin Asif Balwa, their colleague Rajeev Agarwal, Unitech Ltd’s MD Sanjay Chandra and DB Realty MD Vinod Goenka.

The judge also said there was prima facie evidence for framing charges also against Kalaignar TV’s MD Sharad Kumar, Bollywood filmmaker Karim Morani and three telecom firms Reliance Telecom Ltd, Swan Telecom and Unitech (Tamil Nadu) Wireless Ltd.

Raja’s former Private Secretary R K Chandolia and former Telecom Secretary Siddhartha Behura will also face trial.

The court said there was prima facie evidence that Raja, Behura and others conspired to allocate “valuable spectrum”, entrusted to them in the capacity of being public servants, to Swan Telecom Pvt Ltd and Unitech Wireless (Tamil Nadu) Ltd in violation of law to cause wrongful gain to the companies and thereby Section 409 (criminal breach of trust) is invoked against them.

Reliance Telecom Ltd and its three top officials, Gautam Doshi, Surendra Pipara and Hari Nair, will also face trial for allegedly floating Swan Telecom as the front company for getting 2G licences.

While framing charges against Kanimozhi, the court said she had been “in regular touch” with Raja to serve the cause of party-run Kalaignar TV, of which she was a Director and 20 percent stakeholder, regarding launching of the channel.

The court said Kanimozhi along with Raja was “pursuing the cause of Kalaignar TV not only for getting registration of the company from the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting but also for getting it in the Tata Sky bouquet”.

The judge noted that Kanimozhi was a stakeholder in Kalaignar TV to the tune of 20 per cent equity and was “an active brain” behind its operation and was also widely covered by Kalaignar TV.

“Thus the amount of Rs 200 crore paid by Dynamix Realty to … was not a genuine business transaction but in the nature of illegal gratification paid in lieu of the Unified Access Service licences…” the judge said.

Special CBI Judge Saini also framed additional charges under Section 193 (giving false evidence) and 120B IPC against Swan Telecom promoter Shahid Usman Balwa and five others for creating false documents to show alleged routing of Rs 200 crore to DMK-run Kalaignar TV as loan transaction. -PTI

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