Appearing as a witness in the 2G spectrum scandal cases, the Metropolitan Magistrate who recorded the statements of four key witnesses on Friday admitted to “clerical errors” in the statements. The issue was taken up by defence lawyers who alleged that the errors in the witness statements damaged the CBI case.
The magistrate had been summoned to the court as she had recoded the statements of CBI witnesses Aseervatham Achary, former additional private secretary to the then minister A Raja, DoT official Ramjee Singh Kushwaha, Swan Telecom employee Deodutt Pandit and Reliance ADAG official Ashish Karyekar.
During examination on Friday, the court of Special CBI Judge O P Saini found that the dates on which the signed statements were recorded had been written incorrectly in more than one place. Defence lawyers also alleged that the witnesses had been tutored since the statement given by Karyekar indicated that he had been “shown” certain documents while giving his statement.
“It is wrong to suggest that the case file was inside my chamber at the time of recording of statement. It is wrong to suggest that it was shown to the witness. However, the two documents mentioned in this statement at points Y to Y and Z to Z must have been inside the chamber as they are so mentioned in this statement itself,” the magistrate said.
During arguments on an application filed by Essar Teleholdings (ETHL) for a joint trial of the case against A Raja and the Essar group, senior advocate Harish Salve told the court that the CBI had “created confusion” by changing its stand on the issue.
The ETHL, which is being tried in a separate case along with Essar group promoters and Loop Telecom, had filed an application stating that the two separate trials of the scam, against the Essar group and against A Raja and others, should be combined as they had been made co- accused in the same case.
The CBI opposed the plea, saying a joint trial at this late stage would “derail the proceedings”. Special CBI Prosecutor U U Lalit said 146 prosecution witnesses had already been examined in Raja’s case while 71 witnesses had recorded their statements in the Essar-Loop case.
However, Salve said the ETHL was just demanding its right. “If you have persuaded and told the Supreme Court that Section 220 of the CrPC will apply and that I have been made an accused in 2G scam,