On the first day of hearing in the 2G spectrum allocation case after the CBI filed the charge sheet, real-estate tycoon and Unitech Managing Director Sanjay Chandra, three top officials of the Reliance ADA Group and Managing Director of DB Realty and Director of Swan Telecom Vinod Goenka appeared before the Special Court on Wednesday and moved bail applications, which were opposed by the investigating agency.
The three Reliance ADA Group officials are Managing Director of Reliance ADA Group Gautam Doshi, Group president Surendra Pipara and senior vice-president Hari Nair. Arguments on bail began and continued for nearly an hour but were posted to resume on Friday after the newly-appointed Special Public Prosecutor U. U. Lalit sought time to file a reply to the bail applications. Mr. Lalit also sought “status quo” to be maintained until Friday with respect to the five accused.
Special Judge (2G spectrum cases) O. P. Saini directed the five persons to appear in person on Friday for disposal of the bail applications. Scrutiny of documents is expected to begin that day.
While defence counsels argued that there was no need to take custody of the accused as the CBI had not arrested them during the course of its investigation, Mr. Lalit opposed the bail plea. “The accused are not entitled for release on bail, ipso facto, on appearance before the court. They will have to justify their bail pleas.”
He also dubbed as “simplistic” the view of defence counsels that since the accused were not arrested before the charge sheet was filed, they are entitled to bail and exhorted them to get into the “merits of the case.”
Noting there were nearly 180 prosecution witnesses to be examined, Mr. Lalit handed over to Mr. Saini a document, a copy of which the defence lawyers sought. When Mr. Lalit refused, it drew sharp protestations from senior advocates Mukul Rohatgi, K. T. S. Tulsi and Ranjit Kumar, who are appearing for the five accused.
Defence counsels said the accused had cooperated with the investigation. There was no precedent of the accused being denied bail after being summoned to court in a case, where the maximum punishment was seven years or less.
The other four accused in the case — the former Union Telecom Minister, A. Raja; the former Telecom Secretary, Siddhartha Behura; Mr. Raja's former Private Secretary, R. K. Chandolia; and Etisalat DB promoter Shahid Balwa — were present in the court. Their judicial remand period gets over on April 15.