Bail pleas of co-accused in 2G spectrum case opposed (Lead)

April 13th, 2011 - 3:38 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, April 13 (IANS) Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Wednesday opposed the bail applications of five corporate officials, presented in a special court here in regard to the case involving award of second generation (2G) telecom spectrum.

The matter will be heard again Friday.

The co-accused were presented along with former telecom minister A. Raja, his personal aide R.K. Chandolia, former telecom secretary Siddhartha Behura, and Swan Telecom promoter Shahid Balwa. These four are already in judicial custody.

The probe agency opposed the bail applications of Vinod Goenka of Swan Telecom, Sanjay Chandra of Unitech, and three officials of Reliance Anil Dhirubhani Ambani group — Gautam Doshi, Hari Nair and Surendra Pipara.

“The fact that they were not arrested during the investigation does not entitle them to be released on bail,” U.U. Lalit, who has been appointed special public prosecutor by the Supreme Court, told the special court of the probe agency, presided over by Judge O.P. Saini.

“They have to justify their release on bail as they have now been charged as co-accused,” Lalit said.

Former additional solicitor general Mukul Rohatagi, appearing for Goenka, who is also the managing director of DB Realty, said: “The accused is entitled for release on bail ipso facto, because of the fact he was not arrested during investigations.”

Counsel for the other co-accused advanced similar arguments and said since formal charges have already been filed and they have been cooperating with the investigating agency, they deserved to get bail.

But the public prosecutor opposed their pleas and sought time to file replies.

After hearing the matter, the special judge allowed the prayer of public prosecutor and fixed April 15 as the date for hearing the matter. He also said status quo be maintained and asked the co-accused to be present on that date.

In the formal charges April 2, running into some 80,000 pages including annexures, the probe agency had also named three companies — Unitech, Swan Telecom and Reliance Telecom.

Raja, his aide and the officials from the Department of Telecom (DoT) face charges of conspiracy. The former minister also faces forgery charges, while Chandolia and Behura have been accused of misusing official position.

A leader of Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, Raja resigned Nov 14 as telecom minister after it came to light that the official auditor had held that his policy on spectrum allocation resulted in a loss of several billion dollars to the exchequer.

He was arrested by the probe agency in the national capital Feb 2, along with Behura and Chandolia, while Balwa was arrested from Pune on Feb 8.

–Indo-Asain News Service
pps/ap/vt

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