2G scam: HC allows CBI, ED pleas to conduct early hearing on appeals

Delhi High Court (Photo - PTI)

The Delhi High Court Tuesday allowed the CBI and ED pleas seeking early hearing on the appeals challenging acquittal of former telecom minister A Raja and others in the 2G spectrum allocation case.

Justice Brijesh Sethi, pronouncing the order, said the matter will be heard on day-to-day basis from October 5 at 2:30 PM.

The court said it will first hear arguments on leave to appeal' in the CBI case in which Raja and others were acquitted.

The agencies have sought an early hearing of their leave to appeal' pleas which were earlier listed for October 12.

Leave to appeal is a formal permission granted by a court to a party to challenge a decision in a higher court.

The agencies said substantial judicial time of the high court was consumed in hearing arguments in the case and it should be concluded before the retirement of the judge on November 30.

Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Sanjay Jain, representing the CBI and the ED, had said judicial time has already been invested in this matter and it should not go as bad investment.

He had said if the arguments are not completed in the matter before retirement of the judge, they will have to start afresh.

The CBI has also sought advancing the hearing of the appeal challenging the acquittal of Essar Group promoters Ravi Kant Ruia and Anshuman Ruia, Loop Telecom promoters I P Khaitan and Kiran Khaitan and four others in a separate case arising out of the 2G scam probe.

The acquitted individuals and firms have opposed the pleas saying the agencies have not shown the urgency so far and during the COVID-19 pandemic, courts are following a particular sequence in conducting proceedings giving priority to cases where accused/ convicts are in jail and that pattern should not be disturbed.

They had submitted that in view of the current pandemic situation, which is becoming more severe by the day and the physical functioning of the high court is also restricted, it is also not possible for the parties to fully prepare and instruct the counsel and hearing of the instant matter in this restricted environment would cause severe prejudice to them.

The CBI and the ED sought early virtual hearing of their appeals saying that the country's largest trial, which was conducted at the public exchequer's cost, be brought to its logical conclusion.

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

Besides Raja and Kanimozhi, the special court had 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 2G case filed by the CBI.

Swan Telecom promoters Shahid 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.

The special court had also acquitted Swan Telecom (P) Limited; Unitech Wireless (Tamil Nadu) Limited; Reliance Telecom Limited; film producer Karim Morani and Director of Kalaignar TV Sharad Kumar in the CBI case.

On the same day, the special court also acquitted 19 accused, including Raja, Kanimozhi, DMK supremo M Karunanidhi's wife Dayalu Ammal, Vinod Goenka, Asif Balwa, Karim Morani, P Amirtham and Sharad Kumar in the ED case.

On March 19 2018, the ED approached the high court challenging the special court's order acquitting all the accused.

A day later, the CBI too challenged in the high court the acquittal of the accused in the case.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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