Economy

2G: Trial set to begin on Friday

Arun S New Delhi | Updated on March 12, 2018 Published on November 10, 2011

The trial in the 2G spectrum case is set to begin on Friday before a Special Court. The 17 accused in the case include the former Telecom Minister, Mr A. Raja, DMK MP, Ms Kanimozhi, and senior corporate executives including from the Reliance Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group (ADAG).

The CBI, in its first list of witnesses to be examined before the Special Judge Mr O P Saini, has named 28 persons.

Those who are likely to be examined on Friday include the Group President of Reliance, Mr A.N. Sethuraman, the Assistant Vice- President of Reliance Capital, Mr Anand Subramaniam, and the Chief Regulatory Officer of Etisalat DB Telecom Pvt Ltd, Dr Vinod Kumar Budhiraja.

Of the 28 witnesses, 11 are from Reliance, which is an indication that the CBI is looking to examine them on charges relating to the accused companies — Reliance Telecom Ltd (RTL) and Swan Telecom (now Etisalat DB). The examination of these 28 witnesses is likely to conclude by this month-end if one were to go by the date of summoning of these witnesses.

However, the Telecom Department official Mr A .K. Srivastava, who is said to be the CBI's star witness in the case, is not among the 28 witnesses. The case has a total of 164 prosecution witnesses. These include the Attorney General of India, Mr G.E. Vahanvati, and former corporate lobbyist Ms Niira Radia.

The Special Court had, on October 22, framed charges against all the 17 accused.

The charges against all the accused include criminal breach of trust, which is punishable with a term extending up to 10 years imprisonment or life imprisonment and fine. The other charges are criminal conspiracy, cheating, forgery and some provisions under the Prevention of Corruption Act including abetment of offences.

It was alleged that Swan Telecom was ‘ineligible' to apply for the 2G spectrum and was “just a mask” for RTL. The Special Court, in its order on framing of charges, had said that R-ADAG executives (and accused in the case) Mr Gautam Doshi, Mr Hari Nair and Mr Surendra Pipara, “in pursuance to the conspiracy, passed on an ineligible company to (other accused) Mr Shahid Usman Balwa and Mr Vinod Goenka knowing it that it was ineligible on the date of applications and thereby you abetted Mr Balwa and Mr Goenka of Swan Telecom to obtain UAS Licences/ spectrum.”

These allegations have been denied by RTL and its executives. They have already moved the Delhi High Court challenging the Special Court's order on framing of charges.

The other accused in the case include former Telecom Secretary, Mr Siddhartha Behura; Mr Raja's former personal secretary, Mr R K Chandolia; Unitech Wireless (Tamil Nadu) Pvt Ltd and its Managing Director, Mr Sanjay Chandra; Kalaignar TV promoter and MD, Mr Sharad Kumar; Directors of Kusegaon Fruits and Vegetables, Mr Asif Balwa and Mr Rajiv B. Agarwal; and Director of Cineyug Media and Entertainment Pvt Ltd, Mr Karim Morani.

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Published on November 10, 2011
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