New Delhi, May 24 (IANS) A special Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court here Tuesday turned down the bail pleas of Shahid Balwa, Asif Balwa and Rajiv B. Aggarwal in the 2G spectrum scam case. While Shahid Balwa is the promoter of Swan Telecom, the other two are from Kusegaon Fruits and Vegetables Limited.
CBI special judge O.P. Saini rejected the bail applications of all three, named as co-accused along with former communications minister A. Raja in the case related to irregularities in the allocation of airwaves to telecom companies, causing huge losses to the exchequer.
‘Considering the magnitude of the crime, nature and enormity of the allegations, character of evidence on record and the apprehension that the witnesses may be influenced in the case the accused are released on bail, I have no hesitation in holding that accused have failed to make out a case for bail,’ said the court.
The CBI’s first chargesheet April 2 had named, besides Raja, former telecom secretary Siddharth Behura, Shahid Balwa, Raja’s aide R.K. Chandolia, Swan Telecom’s Vinod Goenka, Unitech Wireless Sanjay Chandra and three executives of the ADAG – Gautam Doshi, Hari Nair and Surendra Pipara.
Asif Balwa and Rajiv Aggarwal were named in the supplementary chargesheet filed April 25.
The Central Bureau of Investigation had also named Cineyug Films’ Karim Morani as well as DMK chief M. Karunanidhi’s daughter Kanimozhi and Kalaignar TV chief Sharad Kumar as co-conspirators after it traced an illegal money trail of Rs.214 crore in the scam.
The court said: ‘The allegation against three accused are that they were in conspiracy with accused Raja, Goenka, Morani, Kumar and Kanimozhi and the amount of Rs.200 crore, which was transferred to Kalaignar TV, was quid pro quo for grant of LOI, UAS licence and spectrum to Swan Telecom Limited.’
His reference was to the letter of intent and universal access service for allocation of licence and spectrum.
Earlier, during the course of arguments, Shahid Balwa’s counsel Majid Mammon submitted that his client was presumed to be innocent unless proved guilty and he should not be detained in custody as a measure of punishment.
‘He has already been interrogated and the case would not make any progress by keeping him in custody,’ said Mammon.
He further submitted that the state exchequer had suffered no loss and the grant of LOIs, UAS licenses and and spectrum was as per the policy of the government of India.
Defending Asif Balwa and Rajiv Aggarwal, their counsel Vijay Aggarwal argued: ‘Both accused signed all documents, as are referred to in the chargesheet, as the transaction of money was valid transaction as per law. They did not know that the funds being transferred were illegal.’
However, CBI special public prosecutor U.U. Lalit vehemently opposed their plea saying they fully knew the nature of money being transferred.
The probe agency alleged that the accused persons, in conspiracy with each other decided the cut-off date, violated the first-come-first-served policy and dual technology and spectrum allocation norms. It detailed how LOIs, UAS licences and spectrum were allegedly allocated to ineligible companies, including Swan Telecom Limited – and how Swan Telecom offloaded its equity and then paid Rs.200 crore to Kalaignar TV through its group companies DB Realty, Kusegaon Fruits and Vegetables Limited and Cineyug Film Limited.