‘Rajkumar Dhoot misused Parliamentary position to reserve a place for Datacom executives in queue to submit LoI'

Swan Telecom promoter Shahid Usman Balwa on Tuesday told a special CBI court here that he had seen executives of telecom firm Datacom elbow out executives of Tata Teleservices from the line during the scramble to submit documents to comply with the Letter of Intent conditions at Sanchar Bhavan here on January 10, 2008.

Mr. Balwa said the scuffle was the reason why Tata Teleservices was deprived of 2G spectrum and not any conspiracy hatched by him with the former Telecom Minister, A. Raja.

He alleged that Videocon owner Venugopal Dhoot's brother and Rajya Sabha MP Rajkumar Dhoot was at the reception area of Sanchar Bhavan and had misused his Parliamentary position to reserve a place for Datacom executives in the queue to submit LoI compliance.

Mr. Balwa's counsel, Majid Memon, also demanded a probe into the alleged roles of the Dhoot brothers, citing three prosecution witnesses making statements that it was Mr. Venugopal Dhoot, who was present at Sanchar Bhavan on January 10, 2008.

“Since I was at Sanchar Bhavan that day, I can tell the court that it was not Venugopal Dhoot but Rajkumar Dhoot who was present in the reception area,” Mr. Balwa said.

Mr. Memon also alleged that the CBI did not probe the letter written by Rata Tata on September 15, 2009, granting a donation of Rs.20 crore to build a hospital at Perambalur, Mr. Raja's hometown, “as a special case.”

Mr. Memon said granting a donation was the best way to receive a bribe for a favour granted. On the CBI charge of Rs.200 crore being transferred from Mr. Balwa's companies to Kalaignar TV as quid pro quo in lieu of alleged favours granted by Mr. Raja, Mr. Memon said: “Never in the history of giving a bribe, that a period of 1.5 years elapsed between alleged favour being granted in January 2008 and the bribe being paid in August 2009.”

Mr. Memon also pointed out that the CBI could not prove any link between Mr. Raja and Kalaignar TV, except that Mr. Raja and Ms. Kanimozhi belonged to the same political party and that they were Members of Parliament.

Referring to the charge that R.K. Chandolia rented out a building in Delhi to him, Mr. Memon claimed that Mr. Balwa had paid less than the market rate for the property: “How this would constitute a favour?”

Mr. Memon also dismissed the CBI charge that on the date of the application for UAS licences, Swan Telecom was not eligible for licences as Tiger Trustees, which held majority shares then, was indirectly funded by Reliance ADA Group of Companies as “false and immaterial.”

Counsel also submitted that at the time of receipt of UAS licence, Reliance Telecom did not own a single share in Swan Telecom. He also cited a Ministry of Corporate Affairs report which, according to him, “categorically stated that Tiger Trustees did not fall under the category of ‘Associate' of Reliance Telecom.”

Keywords: 2G race

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