Told to appear next on March 31

A court here on Saturday granted exemption from court appearance to promoters of Essar Group and Loop Telecom in the 2G spectrum scam case for the third time, but warned them that it was in their best interest to appear in person.

After Essar Group promoters Ravikant and Anshuman Ruia and Loop Telecom promoters Kiran and I. P. Khaitan failed to show up in court but were represented by their lawyers, Special Judge O. P. Saini said: “It would be better and in their interest to appear before the court. People do not follow my advice and then they suffer.”

Counsel for the accused Mukul Rohatgi initially sought exemption for them pointing out that their petition seeking transfer of the case to a Magistrate's court was pending before the Supreme Court and it was due to be heard next week. Mr. Saini said he was willing to give them more time, but not on this ground.

Mr. Rohatgi then adopted the plea for exemption earlier made on February 22, when the Ruias and Khaitans had sought exemption on the ground that they were residents of the United Arab Emirates and required more time to appear. The Khaitans had also pleaded for exemption on grounds of poor health.

The Central Bureau of Investigation did not file its reply on the bail plea moved by accused Vikash Saraf submitting it would do so after all the accused move their bail applications. The matter will now come up for hearing next on March 31.

After taking cognisance of the charge sheet-filed by the CBI on December last, Mr. Saini had directed that they be summoned to court on January 27. After all five accused did not turn up on that date, he directed that fresh summons be served on them for February 22. The accused are contesting the cognisance of the charge-sheet taken by Mr. Saini in the Supreme Court.

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