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CBI trying to stop trial against Reliance Telecom?

August 13, 2014 08:32 IST

The Supreme Court has asked the CBI to place before it the "files and notings" which purportedly suggest that its director Ranjit Sinha wants to stop the whole trial against Reliance Telecom Ltd (RTL) and three top executives of the Reliance ADAG, who are accused in the 2G spectrum scam case.

The issue was raised by an NGO, Centre for Public Interest Litigation, one of the PIL petitioners on whose petition the 122 licences for the 2G spectrum was scrapped on February 2, 2012 by the apex court.

Advocate Prashant Bhushan, appearing for the NGO, submitted that reports have appeared in the media that the CBI Director and DIG, Santosh Rastogi, had sent a draft request to Special Public Prosecutor U U Lalit to stop the ongoing trial against Reliance and re-open the case for further probe.

He said the director wants reopening of the whole investigation as "the charge sheet is based on a wrong premise".

"Why does he want to stop the trial which is almost complete," he asked.

Bhushan said that the charge sheet was filed on the premise that since RTL was not eligible for the 2G licences, it created Swan Telecom Pvt Ltd as its front company to secure the radio waves while violating the clause of Unified Access Service Licences (UASL) guidelines.

However, now it reportedly appears that the Director is of the view that on the day of award of licences RTL had given up the ownership of Swan Telecom, he said.

The NGO said the DIG's letter and note make it clear that the draft was sent on behalf of CBI Director to Lalit who had shot back a three-page strong letter asking who had given the instruction that trial court be asked to be stopped by the prosecution.

Taking note of the submissions, a bench headed by Justice H L Dattu said "it is a serious matter" and asked CBI counsel K K Venugopal "to get the record of what Bhushan is talking about" and posted the matter for hearing on September 2.

The bench also asked Bhushan to supply a prepared note on all the aspects to the CBI counsel. The NGO has also raised the alleged link between Tata Group and Unitech for securing the 2G spectrum.

The bench said it will take into consideration this issue also on September 2 as the CBI in its status report has mentioned about it.

The apex court on May 1 had sought response of the CBI and Enforcement Directorate (ED) in sealed cover on a report by the Serious Fraud Investigation Office alleging that

Unitech was a front company for the Tata group in securing 2G spectrum licence in 2008 during A Raja's tenure as telecom minister.

The CPIL had placed before the court extracted portions of the SFIO report on alleged Tata-Unitech link in 2G scam.

It had made submissions about the alleged land deal between a Tata group company and DMK chief M Karunanidhi's family citing fresh audio tapes which have surfaced.

Perusing the status report, the bench said there is a reference of the audio tape and forensic examination has suggested about its genuineness and steps have already taken on it. 

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