2G case: Raja’s plea rejected (Lead)

July 20th, 2011 - 8:59 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, July 20 (IANS) A Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) special court here Wednesday dismissed the plea of former communications minister A. Raja, arrested for his alleged role in the 2G spectrum allocation scam, opposing the start of arguments on the framing of charges.

A similar plea by co-accused and former telecom secretary Siddhartha Behura was also rejected.

The duo opposed the scheduled commencement of arguments before CBI Special Judge O.P. Saini from July 21, saying it should be put off to a later date until after the filing of the third charge sheet in the case.

Rejecting their plea, Judge Saini said: “Neither the accused nor the court can ask police (CBI) to conclude further investigation, as it is their statutory duty as well as right.”

“The only right of the accused is to be supplied with the copies of the documents and to be heard,” said the court.

They sought the postponement contending that completion of the probe was a pre-requisite for beginning the arguments on framing of charges.

The former minister’s counsel said that Raja and other accused allegedly involved in the 2G case were questioned by the CBI July 18 in Patiala House court complex and this showed that the probe was still on.

“Raja was interrogated by the CBI which shows investigation is on. Under what provision did the court allow the CBI to quiz him if the probe had been completed?” asked senior counsel Ramesh Gupta, appearing for Raja.

Gupta said before commencing arguments on framing of charges prosecution must make a specific statement before the court that their investigation was complete.

The court said: “A statement has been made in the instant case that investigation into the allegation contained in the charge sheet pending trial in the court is complete.”

“In such a situation, pending investigation into other aspect of the case in my humble view would not prejudice the accused in any manner,” the judge said.

“I may add that a large number of documents were filed by the CBI along with the charge sheet and copies and soft copies of the same have been supplied to all the accused to their satisfaction and this process was completed only on July 19,” said the court.

“I find no merit in the two application and the same are dismissed,” the judge said.

Counsel Aman Lekhi, appearing for Behura, submitted that the arguments on framing of charges should begin only after the CBI files its third charge sheet.

Charges of cheating, forgery, criminal conspiracy and corruption have been levelled against Raja, DMK MP Kanimozhi and 12 others. Presently, all the 14 accused are lodged in Tihar Jail.

The CBI, in its first charge sheet, accused Raja, eight other people as well as three companies of causing a loss of Rs.30,984 crore to the exchequer.

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