SC defers hearing on plea against summons to Anil Ambani

Written by fe Bureau | New Delhi | Updated: Jul 24 2013, 11:23am hrs
The Supreme Court on Tuesday deferred hearing on Reliance Telecom's (RTL) plea against the trial court's order summoning ADAG chairman Anil and his wife Tina Ambani as prosecution witnesses in the 2G spectrum scam.

A bench headed by Justice GS Singhvi directed the matter to be listed before the special bench, which is hearing the 2G spectrum scam matters and has Justice KS Radhakrishnan as another member.

Notwithstanding the apex court's decision to hear plea of RTL, facing trial in the case, the Special CBI Court on Monday issued summons to Anil to appear before it for deposition as a CBI witness on Friday.

Contesting July 19 order of CBI judge OP Saini summoning the Ambani couple, RTL had moved the Supreme Court challenging trial court's order summoning Ambanis' as prosecution witnesses in the case.

Even two other 2G spectrum accused Asif Balwa and Rajiv Agarwal, promoters of Kusegaon Fruits & Vegetables Kusegaon Fruits & Vegetables, now Kusegaon Realty, have filed separate appeals supporting RTL's case. The promoters are accused of facilitating and routing an alleged bribe of 200 crore from DB Realty to Kalaignar TV, a television channel in which co-accused DMK MP Kanimozhi is a shareholder.

Balwa and Agarwal in their petitions stated that "allowing the prosecution to introduce new witnesses at this stage, when almost 133 out of 165 witnesses, including all the material witnesses, have been examined, cross-examined and discharged, on day-to-day basis, with their testimony running into 3,650 pages (approximately) shall seriously prejudice the right of the accused persons to a fair trial".

RTL stated that the CBI cannot be allowed to bring on record fresh witnesses in a futile attempt to cover up the gaps in the prosecution's case or in any manner change the projected prosecution mid-stream when 133 witnesses have been examined by the investigative agency.

Stating that the trial court's impugned order of July 19 also prejudices the accused by protracting and prolonging the 20-month old trial which was likely to finish soon, the Anil Ambani firm said that ... the mala fide nature of the application is evident from the fact that the witnesses now sought to be projected as 'essential for a just decision of the case' were all within the knowledge of the CBI and were consciously not cited as witnesses at the time of the chargesheet or any time thereafter, RTL stated in its appeal.