2G scam: SC to hear plea on Anil Ambani, Tina deposition

Written by Indu Bhan | Indu Bhan | New Delhi | Updated: Jul 23 2013, 16:12pm hrs
A Special CBI Court on Monday directed Reliance ADAG chairman Anil Ambani and his wife, Tina Ambani, to depose as a prosecution witness on July 26 in the 2G spectrum allocation scam case.

Last week, Special CBI Judge OP Saini had allowed CBI's plea to make Anil and Tina, along with 11 others, as prosecution witnesses in the case, as their deposition may explain alleged investment of over Rs 990 crore by his group companies in Swan Telecom (an ineligible firm) facing trial in the case along with its promoters Shahid Usman Balwa and Vinod Goenka. Testimony of Anil and Tina is required to prove the facts pertaining to incorporation of shell companies as some of the witnesses examined earlier have not been able to do so, it said. While there are no charges against the Ambanis, three top Reliance ADAG executives-- Gautam Doshi, Surendra Pipara and Hari Nair-- are facing trial in the case.

Earlier in the day, Reliance Telecom (RTL), facing trial in the case, moved the Supreme Court challenging trial court's order summoning Ambanis' as prosecution witnesses in the case. An apex court bench, headed by Chief Justice P Sathasivam, before whom the matter was mentioned for an urgent hearing, directed the matter to be listed before an appropriate bench on July 23 after RTL counsel Manali Singhal argued that it is anticipating that the CBI may give us a fresh list (of witnesses) tomorrow.

Even the appeals of two other 2G spectrum accused Asif Balwa and Rajiv Agarwal, promoters of Kusegaon Fruits & Vegetables Kusegaon Fruits & Vegetables, now Kusegaon Realty, supporting RTL's plea will be heard on Tuesday.

The promoters are accused of facilitating and routing an alleged bribe of Rs 200 crore from DB Realty to Kalaignar TV, a television channel in which co-accused DMK MP Kanimozhi is a shareholder. RTL has 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.

It said that when the trail is nearing completion and the prosecution evidence is at the fag end, the CBI has sought to cause severe prejudice to the rights of the accused by calling for various additional witnesses without any just cause.

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 CBI's belated application was a further extension of the unending fishing and roving expedition conducted by the prosecution since the beginning of the trail of the case.