New Delhi: On Thursday, October 25, the Delhi High Court clubbed the appeal made by the Enforcement Directorate along with the appeal made by the CBI, both appeal were filed against the order of acquittal of former telecom Minister, A Raja and others in a money laundering case arising out of the 2G scam.
Justice Najmi Waziri observed that since the contentions raised by CBI and ED pertained to challenging the same order, the Court deemed it fit to club the two appeals. In its appeal, the CBI challenged the acquittal of A. Raja, DMK MP Kanimozhi and others.
The matter for appeal has been listed for hearing on February 7, 2019.
The Counsel on record for both ED and CBI, Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, urged the Court to prepone the appeal which has been listed for hearing in February next year.
However, the Advocate on record for some of the accused, Advocate Vijay Aggarwal submitted that the decision to prepone the matter must be taken into account only upon hearing the submissions made by all parties in the case.
The Court sought response on the records of the Trial Court pertaining to the matter, for which the Counsel for ED submitted that the records were in the process of being digitized.
On March 19, the ED had moved the Court in appeal against the Special Court’s order of acquitting all the accused in the controversial 2G scam matter. Simultaneously, the CBI also filed an appeal the next day challenging the same order.
On December 21, a Special Court had ordered the acquittal of Raja, Kanimozhi and 17 others, including DMK supremo M Karunanidhi's wife Dayalu Ammal, Shahid Balwa and Vinod Goenka of STPL, Asif Balwa and Rajiv Aggarwal of Kusegaon Fruits and Vegetables Pvt Ltd, film producer Karim Morani, P Amirtham and Sharad Kumar, Director of Kalaignar TV in the ED case. In its charge sheet, the ED had alleged that Rs. 200 crores was paid by the promoters of Swan Telecom Pvt.Ltd (STPL) to the DMK-run Kalaignar TV.
On the same day itself in December last year, the Trial Court had acquitted Raja, Kanimozhi and 15 others including 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 and three top executives Gautam Doshi, Surendra Pipara and Hari Nair of the Reliance Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group (RADAG) in the 2G case of the CBI.
In the CBI case, Raja, Kanimozhi and 15 others were charged and tried under various provisions of the IPC and for offences under the Prevention of Corruption Act dealing with offences of criminal conspiracy, cheating, forgery, using as genuine fake documents, abusing official position, criminal misconduct by public servant and taking bribe.
In the first case of the controversial 2G scam, the CBI had prosecuted 17 accused. Pursuant to which, the ED tried 19 persons accused. Subsequently, the third matter arising out of the 2G scam, had eight persons accused in the matter including Essar promoters.
On March 14, 2011, the Special Court set up for hearing 2G cases exclusively, had acquitted the Essar Group promoters, Ravi Kant Ruia and Anshuman Ruia and six others in a separate case in relation to the 2G scam probe.
On February 2, 2012, the top Court scrapped the allocated licenses for the 2G spectrum upon claim by the CBI that allegedly there was a loss of Rs. 30,984 crores to the exchequer. However, special Judge O P Saini, had held that the prosecution had "miserably failed" to prove the charges.