The special CBI court holding the day-to-day trial in the 2G case involving former Telecom Minister A. Raja and DMK MP Kanimozhi besides others would start examining on Monday a crucial prosecution witness and DoT’s senior official A.K. Srivastava
Special CBI Judge O.P. Saini would start the recording of statement of Mr. Srivastava, a former Deputy Director-General (Access Services) of the Department of Telecommunication.
Mr. Srivastava’s testimony assumes significance as he, in his statement to the CBI during the probe in the case, had said that Mr. Raja had noted in a DoT file that the cut-off date for receiving applications for grant of the 2G spectrum licences would be October 1, 2007.
Mr. Raja, however, in pursuance of a conspiracy to favour some telecom companies, decided to accept the applications filed with DoT till September 25, 2007 only, the CBI had alleged in its charge sheet.
The CBI had also alleged that Mr. Raja wanted to favour firms, Unitech Wireless (Tamil Nadu) Ltd and Swan Telecom and to extend the favour, he unilaterally advanced the cut-off date for accepting the applications.
Mr. Raja ignored various authorities including the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), the Law Ministry and the Prime Minister’s office (PMO) in the process, it said.
Mr. Srivastava, whose testimony is crucial for the CBI, had further told the investigators that Mr. Raja’s erstwhile Private Secretary R.K. Chandolia, a co-accused, had on September 24, 2007 enquired from him about the number of applications received so far.
On being told that the applications of Unitech group firms have already been received on September 24, 2007, Mr. Chandolia then directed Mr. Srivastava not to entertain further applications for the grant of Unified Access Services Licences (UASL) from the next day that is September 25, 2007, the witness had alleged.
Besides Mr. Raja and Mr. Chandolia, the other accused facing trial in the case include Ms. Kanimozhi, former Telecom Secretary Siddharth Behura, Swan Telecom promoters Shahid Usman Balwa and Vinod Goenka, Unitech Ltd MD Sanjay Chandra.
Top Reliance ADAG executives Gautam Doshi, Hari Nair and Surendra Pipara, directors of Kusegaon Fruits and Vegetables Pvt Ltd Asif Balwa and Rajeev Aggarwal, Bollywood producer Karim Morani and Kalaignar TV MD Sharad Kumar are also facing trial in the case.
Besides these 14 accused, three telecom firms — Swan Telecom Pvt Ltd, Reliance Telecom Ltd and Unitech Wireless (Tamil Nadu) Ltd — are also accused in the case.