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Updated: February 28, 2011 22:56 IST

Raja seeks judicial proceedings through videoconferencing

Jiby Kattakayam
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A. Raja. File Photo: R. Ragu
The Hindu A. Raja. File Photo: R. Ragu

His judicial remand ends on Thursday

The former Telecom Minister, A. Raja, moved an application before a court here on Monday seeking conduct of court proceedings from Tihar Central Jail through videoconferencing on Thursday, when his judicial remand ends. Special Judge (CBI) O.P. Saini will hear the matter on Tuesday. A lawyer representing Mr. Raja said this would help save time incurred in transporting Mr. Raja from Tihar to Patiala House on the day of the hearing.

The court will also hear the application for bail moved by another accused in the 2G spectrum scam, the former Telecom Secretary, Siddhartha Behura, on March 9 and the application to de-freeze Mr. Behura's sealed bank accounts, on March 15.

Mr. Behura's counsel, senior advocate S.S. Gandhi, sought from Mr. Saini a copy of the 18-page order that the judge had delivered on February 25 while disposing of the bail applications moved by Shahid Usman Balwa and R.K. Chandolia to ensure that the same arguments were not made before the court again. A counsel for Mr. Raja also requested for a copy of the order.

The CBI in its reply to Mr. Behura's bail application said that Mr. Raja and Mr. Behura had ignored serious issues raised regarding further verification of eligibility conditions of Swan Telecom and had “dishonestly approved the file on September 1, 2008 for issue of Letters of Intent (LOI) for 13 telecom service areas.”

The CBI also opposed the bail application stating that the investigation has prima facie revealed that Mr. Behura “in conspiracy with” Mr. Chandolia and others made arrangements at Sanchar Bhavan for distribution of LOIs and responses of the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) in an “arbitrary and unfair manner.” The investigating agency said that the LOIs and responses of the DoT were neither distributed simultaneously nor on a first-come, first-served basis, but instead were “distributed in a manner designed to benefit Swan Telecom and other companies.”

The CBI added that “in furtherance of the said conspiracy,” Mr. Behura played a vital role in allocating the spectrum in an arbitrary and unfair manner to Swan Telecom in the Delhi Telecom circle, where availability of 2G spectrum was not adequate to cater to the requirements of all spectrum applicants. The CBI sough more time from the court to reply to Mr. Behura's application to defreeze his bank accounts to pay for the medical expenses incurred for a surgery performed on his wife.

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