The Supreme Court on Monday asked the Central Bureau of Investigation to explain where the amount of Rs. 200 crore allegedly received as bribe by Kalaignar TV in the 2G scam “has gone.”
A vacation Bench of Justices B.S. Chauhan and Swatanter Kumar, while issuing notice to the CBI on the bail plea of DMK MP Kanimozhi and Managing Director of Kalaignar TV Sharad Kumar, asked the agency to file its response in one week and posted the matter for further hearing on June 20.
The Bench asked the CBI to answer three points, viz., “where has the Rs. 200 crore amount gone; status report on the loss caused to the state exchequer in the award of 13 Unified Access Service licences and the status of the trial before the special CBI court.”
Earlier senior counsel Altaf Ahmed and Sushil Kumar appearing for the petitioners submitted that the amount of Rs. 200 crore received as loan by the TV channel was accounted for and repaid to Cineyug Films.
When Mr. Ahmed submitted that keeping the petitioners in jail was violation of their human rights, Justice Chauhan observed: “You say it is violation of human rights. Corruption is the worst form of human rights violation.”
Justice Swatanter Kumar told counsel: “You say it is a loan. Where has the Rs. 200 crore gone? By whatever name you call it, whether it is a kickback or a bribe, either way according to the charge sheet it is not part of the legal transaction.”
Mr. Ahmed, however, argued that the accused were not recipients of the spectrum and had merely taken a loan of Rs. 200 crore which had been returned. He said since investigation had already been completed, bail could be granted and they would cooperate with the investigating agency, whenever required.
When CBI counsel Sonia Mathur sought two weeks' time for filing the reply, Justice Chauhan told her: “You cannot keep the petitioners in jail for two or three months. If you want, you [CBI] can always interrogate them.”
Later Additional Solicitor-General A.S. Chandiok appearing for the CBI said the agency would file the response in one week.
“Loan shown as bribe”
In their appeal against the Delhi High Court order, Ms. Kanimozhi and Mr. Sharad Kumar contended that a mere loan obtained from one company by another through bank and repaid by the borrowing company, with interest and tax deduction was imaginarily portrayed as receipt of bribe on the basis of the belated and oral statements of obliging witnesses.
They said: “The supplementary charge sheet itself reveals that the initial money transfers of the total of Rs. 200 crore funded by Cineyug Films to Kalaignar TV was made only for the acquisition of the equity shares of Kalaignar TV to the tune of 32-35 per cent of the total equity. Since the negotiation of equity shares failed, the total amount of Rs. 200 crore stood converted into a loan, having an interest at 10 per cent per annum as per share subscription and shareholder agreement dated December 19, 2008 signed between Cineyug Films and Kalaignar TV.”
They said: “The entire transaction was transparent and made only through bank. There was no attempt to conceal the same. The fact that the amounts were paid much later after the grant of licences clearly indicates that the said payments did not have any connection with the grant of spectrum licences as alleged.”