Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi's daughter Kanimozhi and Kalaignar TV Managing Director Sharad Kumar were on Tuesday granted exemption from personal appearance in the CBI special court hearing the 2G spectrum case here on May 12 and 13. This followed a plea that their presence was required by the office of the Income Tax Department at Nungambakkam in Chennai, which had issued notices to them for May 12.

The CBI did not object and Special Judge O. P. Saini granted the exemption, but ordered that they should not try to contact or influence any witness or tamper with evidence while in Chennai. He also directed them to return to Delhi and appear before the court on May 14 when the court is scheduled to pronounce its order on their plea to enlarge them on bail.

Earlier, the duo had sought exemption from court appearance on May 9 and 10 to prepare for an Enforcement Directorate summons served on Mr. Kumar for May 12 and Ms. Kanimozhi for May 13, which was rejected after the CBI opposed the plea.

The arguments on the bail application moved by Etisalat DB promoter Shahid Balwa saw his lawyer, Vijay Aggarwal, asking Special Public Prosecutor U. U. Lalit if he was “holding a brief for Tata.”

Mr. Lalit had in his submissions referred to the charge sheet which noted that Tata Teleservices was at the losing end in the grant of UAS licences and allocation of 2G spectrum to Swan Telecom.

Rebuttal

Mr. Aggarwal rebutted by quipping: “Was it the counsel for the CBI arguing or was it someone holding a brief for Tata?” He also referred to a letter written to Mr. Karunanidhi by Tata Sons chairman Ratan Tata praising the former Union Telecom Minister, A. Raja, wondering why this was done despite the Tata Teleservices supposed to be an aggrieved party in the grant of licences and spectrum.

Mr. Balwa's counsel also referred to submissions made in the Supreme Court by advocate Prashant Bhushan appearing for the Centre for Public Interest Litigation questioning the “clean chit” given by the CBI to the Tata Teleservices and why Niira Radia was made only a witness.

Mr. Lalit said he could only go by the CBI's charge sheet.

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