2G scam acquittals: Glaring illegalities in judgment, CBI tells Delhi HC

The central probing agency while making submissions on its appeal challenging the acquittal of the accused individuals and firms, said the evidence placed before the special court was disregarded.

The appeal comes after the CBI had initially concluded its submissions on the issue of “leave to appeal.”

Justice Dinesh Kumar Sharma listed the matter for further proceedings on May 29, noting that the appeal was part heard.

“I will demonstrate that there are glaring illegalities in the (trial court) judgment. The evidence placed by the CBI was disregarded. Appreciation of evidence was completely wrong. I will show that the judgment was perverse and there were flaws in it,” advocate Neeraj Jain, who appeared in the court on behalf of the CBI, argued.

On Monday, the CBI counsel had said the trial court judgment was based on “wrong conclusions” and was “untenable in law”.

The CBI lawyer had said the case revolves around “five key points” of irregularities — collusion between government officials and telecom operators, manipulation of a cut-off date, violation of the first-come-first-serve principle, non-revision of the entry fee and a money trail of 200 crore.

The CBI lawyer had further stated that the illegal acts of the accused caused a loss of 22,000 crore to the public exchequer.

 Separately, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) has also logged an appeal challenging  the acquittal of all the accused in a connected money-laundering case is also pending before the court.

Advocate Vijay Aggarwal, appearing for some of the acquitted people, including RK Chandolia, had said once an accused is let off in the scheduled offence, the same consequence has to follow in the money-laundering case as well.

Earlier, the case was being heard on a day-to-day basis by Justice Brijesh Sethi, who retired on November 30, 2020. Justice Sethi had released the matter from his board on November 23 of the same year owing to a paucity of time.

Before demitting the office, Justice Sethi had decided various petitions and applications filed by the acquitted individuals and firms in the three cases arising out of the 2G scam probe lodged by the CBI and the ED.

After concluding the submissions in the CBI’s main case, the high court would take up the ED’s money-laundering case, in which all the accused were acquitted by a special court.

The special court had, on December 21, 2017, acquitted Raja, DMK MP Kanimozhi and others in the CBI and ED cases related to the scam.

Besides Raja and Kanimozhi, the special court had acquitted former telecom secretary Siddharth Behura, Raja’s former private secretary R K Chandolia, Unitech Limited managing director Sanjay Chandra and three top executives of the Reliance Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group (RADAG) — Gautam Doshi, Surendra Pipara and Hari Nair — in the 2G case lodged by the CBI.

Swan Telecom promoters Shahid Balwa and Vinod Goenka and the directors of Kusegaon Fruits and Vegetables Private Limited — Asif Balwa and Rajiv Agarwal — were also acquitted in the CBI case.

The special court had also acquitted Swan Telecom (Private) Limited, Unitech Wireless (Tamil Nadu) Limited, Reliance Telecom Limited, film producer Karim Morani and Kalaignar TV director Sharad Kumar in the CBI case.

On the same day, the special court had also acquitted 19 accused, including Raja, Kanimozhi, DMK supremo M Karunanidhi’s wife Dayalu Ammal, Vinod Goenka, Asif Balwa, Karim Morani, P Amirtham and Sharad Kumar, in the ED case.

It had also acquitted Essar Group promoters Ravi Kant Ruia and Anshuman Ruia, Loop Telecom promoters I P Khaitan and Kiran Khaitan and four others in a separate case arising out of the 2G scam probe.

On March 19, 2018, the ED approached the high court challenging the special court’s order acquitting all the accused.

A day later, the CBI too challenged in the high court the acquittal of the accused.

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