NEW DELHI (TIP): As the trial in the 2G spectrum allocation scam reaches a crucial stage after the examination of prosecution evidence, all the 17 accused, including former telecom minister A Raja, DMK MP Kanimozhi and top corporate honchos, will now have to answer over 1700 questions posed by a special CBI court during the hearing. Special CBI Judge O P Saini supplied draft questionnaire, containing 1,718 questions to the advocates representing the 17 accused, saying “it would be in the interest of justice and also convenient to parties if a copy of draft questionnaire is supplied to accused in advance to facilitate answering to the questions by them and to expedite the case.”
Under Section 313 of Criminal Procedure Code, a court has the power to examine the accused for the purpose of enabling him personally to explain any circumstances appearing in the evidence against him. While the court fixed the recording of statement of accused for April 21, Vijay Aggarwal, counsel for Swan telecom promoter Shahid Balwa, objected to the same questions put to all the accused. “The court has put common questions to all the 17 accused, which is contrary to the law settled by SC as evidence against every accused and role has to be different. Morevover, how can same questions be asked from Unitech and Swan telecom as they being the competitors cannot conspire with each other,” Aggarwal said.
The 648-page draft questionnaire, based on prosecution evidence, judge Saini has sought an explanation over A Raja and co-accused R K Chandolia’s meetings with Balwa and Chandra during his tenure as the environment minister. “It is further in evidence against you that the big construction projects cleared by you as minister of environment and forests included Unitech, D B Realty and other companies and as far as Unitech is concerned, Sanjay Chandra and as far as D B Realty is concerned, Shahid Balwa and Vinod Goenka used to follow up and they used to meet you and R K Chandolia on regular basis to pursue their cases in the ministry … What do you have to say?” the court has asked.
On the allegation of Swan telecom being the front company of Reliance telecom, the court asked, “It is further in evidence against you that the authorised bank signatories of all the above companies, including STPL, TTPL, Parrot, Zebra and Swan Consultants (P) Limited etc, were similar set of persons, who were found to be employed with Reliance ADA group and the investment and disinvestment by Reliance Telecom Limited in the preference and equity shares of STPL was informed to the board of directors of RTL, wherein the promoters of Reliance ADA group were also present. What do you have to say?” The court has also sought an answer on about Rs 200 crore connected with the 2G spectrum scam that had allegedly travelled from a partnership firm of Swan Telecom Promoter Shahid Usman Balwa to the Kalaignar TV Pvt. Ltd.