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Delhi HC sends notices to Raja, Kanimozhi, responding to appeal against 2G verdict of CBI court

The CBI had alleged that there was a loss of Rs 30,984 crore to the exchequer in the allocation of licences for the 2G spectrum, which was scrapped by the apex court on 2 February 2012

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Wednesday asked UPA-2-era telecommunication minister A Raja, DMK MP Kanimozhi and others to respond to the CBI plea challenging their acquittal by a special court in the 2G spectrum case in December 2017. Justice SP Garg had issued a similar order on the plea of the challenging their acquittal in the money laundering case arising out of the 2G scam case.

Besides Raja and Kanimozhi, the special court had acquitted 17 others, including DMK supremo M Karunanidhi’s 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, of Kalaignar TV in the case.

While issuing notices to Raja, Kanimozhi and others in the two cases, the court asked them to file their responses before the next date of hearing on 25 May.

The court also allowed the interim plea of the ED, represented by Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Tushar Mehta, to maintain the status quo with regard to the properties worth around Rs 223 crore, which the agency had attached in the money-laundering case. The did not want the properties to be released — a fallout of the acquittal in the money-laundering case, saying that third-party rights might be created in them.

While granting the agency’s request for status quo, the court also asked why it had come so late if it wanted that relief.

The court was initially not inclined to pass any interim order staying the release of attachment without first hearing the other side.

However, after the ASG cited past judgements in which such orders have been passed, the court ordered that status quo be maintained regarding the properties attached by the ED.

On March 19, the moved the high court challenging the special court’s order acquitting all the accused in the money laundering case arising out of the 2G scam.

Yesterday, the CBI too challenged in the high court the acquittal of the accused in the case.

A special court on December 21 last year had acquitted Raja, Kanimozhi and others in the CBI and cases.

The ED, in its charge sheet, had alleged that Rs 200 crore was paid by Swan Telecom (P) Ltd (STPL) promoters to DMK-run Kalaignar TV.

On the same day, the trial court had acquitted Raja, Kanimozhi and 15 others, including former Telecom Secretary Siddharth Behura, Raja’s erstwhile private secretary RK Chandolia, Swan Telecom promoters Shahid Usman Balwa and Vinod Goenka, Unitech Ltd MD Sanjay Chandra and three top executives of Reliance Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group (RADAG) — Gautam Doshi, Surendra Pipara and Hari Nair, in the CBI’s 2G case.

The CBI had alleged that there was a loss of Rs 30,984 crore to the exchequer in the allocation of licences for the 2G spectrum, which was scrapped by the apex court on 2 February 2012.

Special Judge OP Saini, however, had held that the prosecution had “miserably failed” to prove the charges.

The special court, which was set up on 14 March 2011 for hearing 2G cases exclusively, had also acquitted Essar Group promoters Ravi Kant Ruia and Anshuman Ruia and six others in a separate case arising out of the 2G scam probe.

The first case, prosecuted by CBI, had 17 accused, while the second matter, pursued by ED, had 19 undertrials. The third one had eight accused including Essar promoters.

In the CBI case, Raja, Kanimozhi and 15 others were tried under provisions of the IPC and the Prevention of Corruption Act dealing with offences of criminal conspiracy, cheating, forgery, using as genuine documents, abusing official position, criminal misconduct by public servant and taking a bribe.

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