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2G case: Did CBI try to deflect Tata's wrongs?

May 19, 2016 19:01 IST

Balwa, who is accused along with 16 others in the case, claimed that he cannot be prosecuted for pushing back Tata in the race as the firm was never in the race to get the 2G spectrum licence

Swan Telecom promoter Shahid Balwa, an accused in the 2G telecom spectrum scam, alleged, on Thursday, in a special court that the Central Bureau of Investigation had tried to "deflect the wrong-doings" of Ratan Tata in the case by prosecuting him along with former Telecom Minister and Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam leader A Raja.

He contended that the agency favoured Tata which had given Rs 20 crore (Rs 200 million) as donation to Raja for building a hospital in the DMK leaser's constituency.

Balwa, who is accused along with 16 others in the case, claimed that he cannot be prosecuted for pushing back Tata in the race as the firm was never in the race to get the 2G spectrum licence.

"The investigating officer in the case had favoured Tata and by prosecuting Balwa, he had tried to deflect the wrong doings of Tata," advocate Vijay Aggarwal, appearing for Balwa, argued before Special Judge O P Saini.

Advancing final arguments in the case, the advocate said Raja had admitted in his cross-examination that he had taken Rs 20 crore donation from Tata for the hospital in his constituency.

"So, Balwa cannot be prosecuted for the alleged conspiracy with Raja for pushing back Tata in the race to get licences," the counsel said, adding that "it had come on record that Niira Radia was visiting Raja's residence with Ratan Tata".

Radia, who is a prosecution witness in the case, was managing, through her company, the corporate communication of the Tata group.

He further claimed that the Supreme Court has also ordered to find out whether Tata was eligible to get the 2G spectrum licence.

"It's wrong to prosecute Balwa for pushing back Tata in the race as Tata was never in the race," the counsel said.

Earlier, Balwa had told the court that prosecution's case was contradictory and there was nothing to prove conspiracy charge against him.

He had also claimed that he was being prosecuted wrongly and there was shift in the stand of CBI in the case.

Besides Raja and Balwa, DMK MP Kanimozhi, former Telecom Secretary Siddharth Behura, Raja's erstwhile private secretary R K Chandolia, Unitech Ltd managing director Sanjay Chandra, STPL promoter Vinod Goenka and three executives of Reliance ADAG - Gautam Doshi, Surendra Pipara and Hari Nair – are facing trial in the case.

Directors of Kusegaon Fruits and Vegetables Pvt Ltd Asif Balwa and Rajiv Agarwal, Kalaignar TV Director Sharad Kumar and Bollywood producer Karim Morani are also facing trial in the case, besides three telecom companies -- Reliance Telecom Ltd, STPL and Unitech Wireless (Tamil Nadu) Ltd.

In its charge sheet, CBI had alleged a loss of Rs 30,984 crore (Rs 309.84 billion) to the exchequer in allocation of 122 licences for 2G spectrum which was scrapped by the Supreme Court on February 2, 2012.

All these accused, who are out on bail, have denied the allegations levelled against them by CBI.

Photograph: Punit Paranjpe/Reuters

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