The ongoing trial in the 2G spectrum allocation case, involving high-profile accused like former Telecom Minister A Raja and DMK MP Kanimozhi today completed a year, yielding the recording of over 3,000 pages
of depositions in examination of over 100 witnesses.
The stage for the day-to-day trial, which had started on November 11 last year, was set after Special CBI Judge O P Saini had framed charges against 17 accused, including three telecom firms, named in the first two charge sheets saying
there was sufficient prima facie evidence against them.
For the last one year, apart from Raja and 16 others, the court has also been holding the trial of Essar Group and Loop Telecom promoters, who have been arrayed as accused in a case linked to the 2G scam.
Till today, the court has recorded statements of 77 CBI witnesses in the case in which Raja is the key accused, while in the case against Essar and Loop promoters, it has concluded recording statements of 28 prosecution witnesses.
As per the court sources, around 3,000 pages of evidence have been recorded by the judge till now.
The proceedings in the case, conducted by the special CBI court set up exclusively to deal with the 2G spectrum case, is also being monitored by the Supreme Court.
Besides Raja and Kanimozhi, former Telecom Secretary Siddharth Behura, Raja's erstwhile private secretary R K Chandolia, Swan Telecom promoters Shahid Usman Balwa and Vinod Goenka, Unitech Ltd MD Sanjay Chandra, three top executives of Reliance Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group (RADAG) -- Gautam Doshi, Surendra Pipara and Hari Nair -- are facing trial in the case.
Directors of Kusegaon Fruits and Vegetables Pvt Ltd Asif Balwa and Rajiv Agarwal, Kalaignar TV Director Sharad Kumar and Bollywood producer Karim Morani are also accused in the case.
Besides these 14 accused persons, three telecom firms – Swan Telecom Pvt Ltd (STPL), Reliance Telecom Ltd and Unitech Wireless (Tamil Nadu) Ltd -- are also facing trial in the case. They have been arrayed as accused in the first two CBI
charge sheets filed on April 2 and 25 last year respectively.
The court had on October 22, 2011 framed charges against 17 accused under various provisions of the IPC and the Prevention of Corruption Act dealing with offences of criminal conspiracy, cheating, forgery, faking documents, abusing
official position, criminal misconduct by public servant and taking bribe.
The offences entail punishment ranging from six months in jail to life imprisonment.
Out of a total of 154 prosecution witnesses, named in the first two chargesheets, the court has recorded the statements of 77 of them.
Some high profile prosecution witnesses, who are yet to be examined, includes Attorney General G E Vahanvati, corporate lobbyist Niira Radia and current RBI Governor D Subbarao.
After the commencement of trial in the case, the CBI on December 12 last year had filed its charge sheet against Essar Group promoters Ravi and Anshuman Ruia, and Loop Telecom promoters I P Khaitan and Kiran Khaitan for their alleged role in the criminal case linked to the 2G scam.
Essar Group director (Strategy and Planning) Vikash Saraf and three telecom firms -- Loop Telecom Pvt Ltd, Loop Mobile India Ltd and Essar Tele Holdings Ltd -- were also arrayed as accused in the charge sheet for allegedly cheating the
Department of Telecom (DoT) by using Loop Telecom as a "front"
to secure 2G licences in 2008.
They were slapped with the charges of committing offences only under the IPC as the CBI did not find enough evidence to prosecute them under the Prevention of Corruption Act.
The special court on May 25 this year had framed charges of conspiracy to cheat the government against eight accused, including three telecom firms, named in the charge sheet filed on December 12, 2011.
While the court said all the accused were charged with the offence under section 120 B (criminal conspiracy) read with section 420 (cheating) of IPC, the substantial charge of cheating was made out against Saraf only.
After framing charges, the court on July 26 had commenced the trial against them and till now it has recorded statements of 28 prosecution witnesses out of the 100 named in the charge sheet in the case.