The much-awaited trial in the 2G spectrum allocation scam case, involving high-profile accused including former Telecom Minister A Raja, DMK MP Kanimozhi, top corporate honchos and telecom firms, is likely to begin from Friday before a Delhi Court.
Top corporate executives of Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group (ADAG) are likely to be the first among the over 150 witnesses named by the CBI to be examined by the special court, set up exclusively by the Supreme Court to deal with the 2G case.
The stage was set for the trial of the case on October 22 after Special CBI Judge O. P. Saini framed charges against all the 17 accused, including three telecom firms, saying there was sufficient prima facie evidence against all of them.
The CBI, in its first list of witnesses submitted before the court for summoning them, had named Group President of Reliance A N Sethuraman, Assistant Vice President of Reliance Capital Ltd Anand Subramaniam and Chief Regulatory Officer of Etisalat DB Telecom Pvt Ltd Vinod Kumar Budhiraja for their examination as prosecution witnesses on Friday.
In the first list, the CBI has named 28 persons to be examined as prosecution witnesses before the court in the month of November.
Of this 11 witnesses are from Reliance which suggests that the agency wants to deal first with the charges against accused firms Reliance Telecom Ltd (RTL) and Shahid Usman Balwa promoted Swan Telecom.
In the first list, the CBI has also named General Manager of Reliance Infrastructure Ltd (a Reliance ADAG firm) Ashish Karyekar, Company Secretary of RTL, Hasit Shukla, Senior Vice President (commercial) of Reliance ADAG Vishwanath Devaraja Rao, Director of RTL Satish Seth to be summoned for their examination as prosecution witness.
Besides them, Senior Vice President of accounts and finance (Reliance Infrastructure Ltd) Ashish Tambawala, its Additional Vice President Bharat Amberkar, Senior Vice President Project Finance and Chief Financial Officer of Reliance Power Ltd Deepak Maheshwari and Company Secretary of Reliance Infrastructure Ltd Ramesh Shenoy have also been named in the first list of witnesses.
ADAG—led RTL has been put on trial by the court which said Swan Telecom Pvt Ltd was “just a mask” for RTL.
The court had said the accused Group Managing Director of Reliance ADAG Gautam Doshi, its Group President Surendra Pipara and its senior Vice President Hari Nair had passed on the ineligible firm Swan Telecom to accused Shahid Balwa and Vinod Goenka of M/s DB Realty Ltd.
Discussing the roles of three Reliance ADAG officials, the court had said they created Swan Telecom from the funds of RTL, the then CDMA player, for applying for the UAS licenses in 13 circles as DoT guidelines barred it from venturing into GSM sector.
RTL and its executives have denied all the allegations against them and have challenged the framing of charges against them before the Delhi High Court.
Besides Raja and Kanimozhi, the court had framed charges against Gautam Doshi, Surendra Pipara, Hari Nair, Shahid Usman Balwa, Unitech Ltd’s MD Sanjay Chandra, DB Realty MD Vinod Goenka, Kalaignar TV MD Sharad Kumar and Bollywood filmmaker Karim Morani.
Former Telecom Secretary Siddharth Behura, Raja’s former Private Secretary R K Chandolia, directors of Kusegaon Fruits and Vegetables Pvt Ltd Asif Balwa and Rajeev Agarwal, and three telecom firms -- RTL, Swan Telecom and Unitech Wireless (Tamil Nadu) Pvt Ltd have also been put on trial in the case.
The charges framed against all the accused under various provisions of the IPC and the Prevention of Corruption Act dealt with offences of criminal conspiracy, cheating, forgery, faking documents, abusing official position, getting bribe and criminal misconduct by public servant.
The offences entail punishment ranging from six months in jail to life imprisonment.