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2G trial commences, Raja refuses to cross-examine witnesses

Last updated on: November 11, 2011 20:00 IST

2G trial commences, Raja refuses to cross-examine witnesses

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The 2G spectrum scam case entered a crucial stage on Friday with a Delhi court commencing the trial amidst protest by former telecom minister and prime accused A Raja refusing to cross-examine witnesses saying trial cannot start when the probe is still underway.

"Ask the public prosecutor whether investigation is complete. He knows it all in and out. I cannot understand why you (the judge) do not wait for the investigation to be over. Just note my status, I refuse (to cross examine the prosecution witnesses)," senior advocate Sushil Kumar, appearing for Raja, told Special CBI Judge O P Saini.

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Image: Former telecom minister A Raja

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2G trial commences, Raja refuses to cross-examine witnesses

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Raja's counsel said the Central Bureau of Investigation has submitted in the Supreme Court that investigation in relation to Loop Telecom, which was also granted 2G licences, is still going on. "Loop Telecom is under examination. The Supreme Court is seized of the matter. These are grounds good enough. You can defer it (trial) simply. Why they (the CBI) do not make a simple statement whether investigation is complete," he asked.

He, however, clarified that he is not interfering with the trial but would not cross-examine the prosecution witnesses until the probe in the case is complete.


Image: CBI officials carry the 2G spectrum case chargesheet to a court in New Delhi

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2G trial commences, Raja refuses to cross-examine witnesses

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"I do not want to interfere with the trial. Let them (CBI) say that investigation in this FIR is complete as per all these 17 accused," he said.

The court, however, said this cannot be a ground to consider Raja's plea for not going ahead with the trial. "I may allow your (Raja) application on some other grounds but not on this ground," the special judge said.

The court proceeded with the trial and recorded statement of Anand Subramaniam, Vice President of Reliance Capital Ltd. Besides Subramaniam, the recording of statement of Group President of Reliance Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group A N Sethuraman remained inconclusive and would continue on November 14.

As the trial commenced, Raja's counsel moved an application saying cognizance of the charge sheet taken by the court on April 2 was at the "instance of the prosecution who knowingly and dishonestly filed an incomplete chargesheet."


Image: File photo of A Raja with Siddharth Behura

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2G trial commences, Raja refuses to cross-examine witnesses

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Raja termed the cognizance taken by the court and framing of charges against the accused as "bad in law". "On October 22 (when charges were framed), the applicant (Raja) refused to plead as statements of witnesses recorded during investigation by the police have not been supplied to the applicant and the investigation in the case is still continuing," the application said.

It said that the date of examination of witnesses has been fixed without complying with the mandate of the provision of the CrPC and due to this, Raja has "no option" but to defer the cross examination of prosecution witnesses.

"As soon as the investigation in this case, which started on October 21, 2009, is complete and all the statements as mandated in section 244 of the CrPC are supplied to the applicant, the right to recall the witnesses for cross examination will be exercised," Raja said in his application.

His counsel told the court that it could proceed with the trial saying, "The court can record the chief (of the witnesses) but I will cross examine only when the probe is complete as I am going to be there since I have issued the licences (to the telecom firms)."



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As Raja moved the application before the court, the other defence counsel said his decision of not cross examining the prosecution witnesses would affect their case too as he is the prime accused.

"Everything emanates from accused number one (Raja) and if he is not participating in the trial, it will affect us. Unless Raja will not cross-examine the prosecution witnesses, how could we know what his case is? We are sailing behind him," advocate Majeed Memon, one of the defence counsel, said.

He said if Raja wants to reserve his cross-examination for later stage, then their disclosure would affect their case. "He is the prime accused. How can we disclose our case when prime accused wants to reserve his cross examination," Memon contended.



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