Info-tech

2G: CBI for adding 'breach of trust' to charges against Raja, others

Arun S New Delhi | Updated on March 12, 2018

A. Raja being escorted to the Special Court   -  PTI

The CBI on Monday filed an application before a Special Court to add a new charge of 'criminal breach of trust by public servant' against former Telecom Minister Mr A Raja and two other accused in the 2G spectrum allocation case.

Significantly, the offence (Section 409 of the Indian Penal Code - criminal breach of trust by public servant) is punishable with imprisonment for life, or imprisonment for 10 years and fine.

The other two accused are former Telecom Secretary Mr Siddharth Behura and Mr Raja's former personal secretary Mr R K Chandolia.

All the other accused should be charged under Section 409 read with Section 120 B (criminal conspiracy) of the IPC, the CBI told the Special Court. It added that a case for criminal breach of trust is “certainly made out” against all the accused.

The three accused - Mr Raja, Mr Behura and Mr Chandolia -- “were public servants having a dominion over valuable 2G spectrum,” the CBI said, adding that they “In pursuance of the conspiracy with the other (14) accused dishonestly disposed off the valuable 2G spectrum illegally…to confer wrongful gain on (five) accused -- (Swan Telecom and its promoters Mr Shahid Usman Balwa and Mr Vinod Goenka as well as Unitech Wireless (Tamil Nadu) Pvt Ltd and its Managing Director Mr Sanjay Chandra).”

The CBI had earlier accused them of criminal conspiracy, cheating, forgery and other provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act. These attracted a maximum punishment of only seven years' imprisonment.

The accused in the case include DMK MP Ms Kanimozhi and three companies -- Swan and Unitech Wireless and Reliance Telecom. The lawyers for the accused, however, opposed the CBI’s application saying the agency wants to delay the proceedings of framing of charges against the accused.

Chidambaram as witness

During the hearing, the counsel for Mr Raja, Mr Sushil Kumar told the Special Court that the Home Minister Mr P Chidambaram, should be examined as a witness in the 2G case. Mr Chidambaram was the Finance Minister in 2008 when the 2G spectrum was allocated during Mr Raja’s tenure as the Telecom Minister.

Mr Kumar said Mr Chidambaram was acquainted with all the facts and circumstances of the 2G spectrum allocation, adding however, that he was not for making Mr Chidambaram an accused.

He said the CBI should have recorded Mr Chidambaram’s statement on what he had said on the issue of dilution of shares during a Cabinet meeting in the presence of Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh. The CBI had alleged that the accused Mr Shahid Balwa’s Swan Telecom and Mr Sanjay Chandra’s Unitech Wireless off-loaded shares to Etisalat and Telenor respectively and made huge profits.

Though the CBI had said the wrongful acts of the accused in the case deprived the exchequer of possible revenues amounting to Rs 30,984.55 crore, Mr Kumar said the Prime Minister himself had said that there was no loss to the exchequer.

Meanwhile, in a related development, the hearing on the application by Janata Party President Dr Subramanian Swamy to make Mr Chidambaram an accused in the case, was deferred to October 12. Dr Swamy had filed a plea in the Supreme Court seeking the court’s directions to the CBI to investigate Mr Chidambaram’s role in the case. Dr Swamy said he hopes that the apex court’s decision on that plea will come by then.

Published on September 26, 2011

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