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Raja to appear before court via video conferencing

March 01, 2011 19:42 IST
A Delhi court on Tuesday allowed former telecom minister A Raja, presently lodged in Tihar jail, to appear before it through video-conferencing in the 2G spectrum allocation scam case.

"The remand proceedings of accused A Raja shall be conducted through the facility of video-conferencing on March 3, without he being physically brought to the court from Tihar jail," Special Central Bureau of Investigation Judge O P Saini said.

During the arguments on Raja's plea, his lawyer Ramesh Gupta said the process of transportation and subsequent, production in the court was "embarrassing" and moreover, no purpose would be served even if, he is physically brought. The plea was allowed as CBI also did not oppose it.

CBI prosecutor Akhilesh said if jail authorities did not have any problem then the agency also has no problem. The court, however, directed the jail superintendent and officer incharge of video-conferencing at Patiala House courts to make necessary arrangements for the next hearing.

"In view of the fact that the electronic video linkage is available both in the Patiala House court as well as in the Tihar jail and nothing contrary has been brought to my notice, the prayer is allowed," the judge said.

Raja, in his plea which was filed on Monday, said "remanding of an accused to JC does not require his physical presence as discretion has been vested with the court for extending the same through video-conferencing." He had prayed that considering his security, the proceedings be conducted through video-conferencing.        

Advocate Gupta also submitted that video-conferencing facility is available in Tihar jail and court as well and as per the amended sections of CrPC, the remand proceeding can be conducted through electronic video linkage.

"The legislature in its wisdom, in order to save the precious time of the court, has amended the relevant provision of the CrPC to the effect that now remand proceedings can be carried out through the facility of electronic video linkage," the application of Raja said.

Raja was arrested on February 2 for his alleged role in the 2G scam, which, as per the CBI, has caused a pecuniary loss of Rs 22,000 crore to the state exchequer.

Besides Raja, his personal secretary R K Chandolia, former telecom secretary Siddhartha Behura and Swan Telecom promoter Shahid Usman Balwa were sent to judicial custody till March 3 after the conclusion of their custodial interrogation. The former minister is alleged to have manipulated rules to favour some telecom companies including Swan Telecom and Unitech Private Limited in allocation of spectrum at throwaway prices.

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