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Plant, nurture trees till monsoon, 2G case accused Shahid Usman Balwa told

Shahid Usman Balwa. File

Shahid Usman Balwa. File   | Photo Credit: PTI

HC refuses to spare them of penalty task which they got for failing to file response over their acquittal pleas

The Delhi High Court on Wednesday refused the request of Swan Telecom promoter Shahid Usman Balwa and others to spare them from the task of taking care of trees which they were directed to plant in the Capital as a penalty.

Justice Najmi Waziri said the accused will have to plant and nurture the trees till rainy season and they can bear the expenses as they reside in posh areas of Mumbai with “fancy addresses”.

The High Court had earlier directed Mr. Balwa, director of Kusegaon Fruits and Vegetables Private Limited Rajiv Agarwal, and firms — Dynamic Realty, DB Realty Limited and Nihar Constructions Private Limited — who were acquitted in the ED case, to plant 3,000 trees each in Delhi’s South Ridge forest area.

The punishment was given to them for failing to file on time their response on the ED and CBI appeals challenging their acquittals in 2G cases. It had also asked A. Raja’s erstwhile private secretary R.K. Chandolia, Asif Balwa and Mr. Agarwal to plant 500 trees each in south Delhi.

Reduce the number

On Wednesday, the High Court agreed to reduce the number of trees to be planted by Mr. Balwa and Mr. Agarwal. They, who were earlier asked to plant 3,000 trees, will now have to plant 1,500 trees.

During the hearing, the court was informed that all the accused have filed their response to the appeals after which it asked the agencies to file their rejoinders and listed the case for March 26.

Mr. Balwa, Mr. Chandolia and others told the High Court that they had appeared before the Deputy Conservator of Forests in compliance with the earlier order.

The forest officer told them that they will have to independently arrange for purchase of trees, manure, water, engagement of contractors and labours for performing the actual task of nurturing.

They claimed that plantation of a total of 16,500 trees and their nurturing is very excessive and it will cost around ₹6.27 crore. Mr. Chandolia claimed his share of 500 trees shall be ₹19 lakh which is “extremely excessive” in nature.

The court, however, refused to accept the submission and said that they have to take care of the plants till the monsoon season.

The court said it has also passed similar direction in other matters and none of the litigants had complained that nurturing of plants was very excessive.

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Printable version | May 29, 2020 4:41:18 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/plant-nurture-trees-till-monsoon-2g-case-accused-shahid-usman-balwa-told/article26449820.ece

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