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2G case: Raja, Kanimozhi, corporate honchos charged

Last updated on: October 22, 2011 14:16 IST

2G case: Raja, Kanimozhi, corporate honchos charged

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The 2G spectrum case on Saturday reached an important milestone with a Delhi court framing charges against all the 17 accused, including former Telecom Minister A Raja and Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam MP Kanimozhi and corporate honchos.

Special CBI judge O P Saini also ordered that trial in the case will commence from November 11 with all the accused refusing to plead guilty to various offences.

"....Thereby, you all committed an offence punishable under Sections 120-B (criminal conspiracy) read with 409 (criminal breach of trust), 420 (cheating) 468 and 471 (forgery) of the Indian Penal Code and Section 7 or in alternative Section 11 read with Section 12 and 13(2) read with 13 (1b) of the Prevention of Corruption Act and within my cognisance," the judge said in his 700-page order.

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Image: Andimuthu Raja

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While framing charges, the judge observed that there is evidence against Raja, his former Private Secretary R K Chandolia and former Telecom Secretary Siddhartha Behura.

With Saturday's development, accused can now now move for bail as observed by the Supreme Court during the hearing of bail petition by Kanimozhi earlier.

The Judge said evidence is there for framing of charges against telecom firms Reliance Telecom Ltd, Swan Telecom and Unitech (Tamil Nadu) Wireless Limited.

He also said CBI has also brought evidence to frame charges against corporate executives of Reliance Anil Dhirubhai Ambani group's Managing Director Gautam Doshi, Surendra Pipara, Group's President and Hari Nair, senior Vice President.

Others against whom charges have been framed are Swan Telecom promoter Shahid Usman Balwa, his cousin Asif Balwa, their colleague Rajeev Agarwal, Unitech Ltd's MD Sanjay Chandra and DB Realty MD Vinod Goenka.

The judge said there was prima facie evidence for framing charges also against Kalaignar TV's MD Sharad Kumar and Bollywood filmmaker Karim Morani.

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"You accused A Raja and Siddharth Behura dishonestly in pursuance of the conspiracy disposed of/allocated valuable spectrum, over which you were having dominion which was entrusted to you in the capacity of public servant to M/s Swan Telecom Pvt Ltd and M/s Unitech Wireless (Tamil Nadu) Ltd in violation of law with a view to cause wrongful gain to these companies thereby you committed an offence punishable under Section 2409 read with 120-B and within my cognisance," the judge said.

The court found prima facie evidence to frame various penal charges, including cheating, forgery, abetment and criminal conspiracy against the accused.

It also found prima facie evidence of abuse of official position by Raja, Chandolia and Behura.

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Image: File photo of A Raja with Siddharth Behura

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2G case: Raja, Kanimozhi, corporate honchos charged

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The court had reserved its order on October 14 after hearing day-to-day arguments on behalf of accused and the CBI for nearly two months.

The trial of the accused would begin after the court pronounces its order on framing of charges in the case.

The CBI, in its first charge sheet filed on April 2, had charged Raja and others with causing a huge loss of Rs 30,984 crore to the exchequer by allocating spectrum to ineligible operators as per a criminal conspiracy among themselves.

Special CBI Prosecutor U U Lalit had argued that there was "sufficient prima facie" evidence against all the accused to proceed with the trial as everyone of them was part of the conspiracy and the intent to commit offence "may be inferred from their knowledge".

On the other hand, all the accused including Raja had vehemently opposed the framing of charges and the plea of CBI that they caused a loss to the state in the grant of spectrum licenses.

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In its second charge sheet filed on April 25, the CBI had named Kanimozhi as an accused in the case for allegedly receiving Rs 200 crore in DMK-run Kalaignar TV as illegal gratification from Shahid Balwa's D B Group through a circuitous route.

The agency alleged Kanimozhi had entered into criminal conspiracy along with the prime accused Raja.

Besides Kanimozhi, four others -- Kalaignar TV Managing Director Sharad Kumar, Karim Morani, Director of Cineyug Media and Entertainment Pvt Ltd, Swan Telecom promoter Shahid Usman Balwa's cousin Asif Balwa and Rajeev Agarwal, who are Directors of Kusegaon Fruits and Vegetables Pvt Ltd -- were named in the charge sheet.

The second charge sheet detailed the routing of Rs 200 crore illegal gratification from D B Group to Kalaignar TV Pvt Ltd through Kusegaon Fruits and Vegetables Pvt Ltd and Cineyug Films Pvt Ltd.



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