Take up 2G scam appeals out-of-turn, ED and CBI urge Delhi HC

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Updated: Aug 13, 2020 9:52 PM

On March 19 2018, the ED had approached the high court challenging the special court's order acquitting all the accused. A day later, the CBI too had challenged in the high court the acquittal of the accused in the case.

A special court had on December 21, 2017 acquitted Raja, DMK MP Kanimozhi and others in CBI and ED cases related to the scam.

The ED and CBI Thursday urged for urgent and out-of-turn hearing in the appeals filed before the Delhi High Court against the acquittal of former Telecom Minister A Raja and others in the 2G spectrum allocation scam cases.

Additional Solicitor General Sanjay Jain, representing the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), submitted before Justice Anup Jairam Bhambhani that Justice Brajesh Sethi, who has been hearing the appeals, is going to retire on November 30 and the respondent individuals and companies be asked to conclude their arguments by September.

The ASG said he has concluded his arguments in the CBI’s case and will make small arguments in the ED matter.

“A considerable judicial time has been spent in the arguments before Justice Brajesh Sethi. It will be a waste of the court’s time if the submissions are not completed before Justice Sethi’s retirement,” he said, adding that the appeals be taken up in an urgent and out-of-turn manner. He made the submissions when a plea moved by one of the firms, which was acquitted in the ED case, in connection with the high court’s 2018 order directing status quo to be maintained on the release of properties attached in the case.

Justice Bhambhani pointed out that the 2G case appeals were pending before Justice Sethi and this application should also go before the same judge. Jain also submitted that the application be placed before Justice Sethi along with the appeals. Justice Bhambhani, in its order, said that subject to the orders of the Chief justice, the matter be placed before Justice Sethi on August 17.

During the brief hearing, advocate Vijay Aggarwal, representing some of the respondents, said the CBI and ED cases were distinct and a previous order sheet of the court makes it clear that the matter was not part-heard. He also said if the court deems it appropriate to send the plea before Justice Sethi, he has no objection.

A special court had on December 21, 2017 acquitted Raja, DMK MP Kanimozhi and others in CBI and ED cases related to the scam. It had acquitted 17 others, including DMK supremo M Karunanidhi’s wife Dayalu Ammal, Vinod Goenka, Asif Balwa, film producer Karim Morani, P Amirtham and Sharad Kumar, Director of Kalaignar TV in the ED case.

On the same day, the trial court had also acquitted former telecom secretary Siddharth Behura, Raja’s erstwhile private secretary R K Chandolia, Unitech Ltd MD Sanjay Chandra and three top executives of Reliance Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group (RADAG) — Gautam Doshi, Surendra Pipara and Hari Nair, in the CBI’s 2G case.

Swan Telecom promoters Shahid Usman Balwa and Vinod Goenka and directors of Kusegaon Fruits and Vegetables Pvt Ltd Asif Balwa and Rajiv Agarwal were also acquitted in the CBI case. On March 19 2018, the ED had approached the high court challenging the special court’s order acquitting all the accused. A day later, the CBI too had challenged in the high court the acquittal of the accused in the case.

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