CBI favoured Tata, Datacom: Balwa (Lead)

August 2nd, 2011 - 8:42 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Aug 2 (IANS) Swan Telecom promoter Shahid Usman Balwa Tuesday accused the CBI of covering up the role of Datacom and Tata Teleservices in the 2G spectrum scam and told a special court here that Videocon chairman Venugopal Dhoot got the licence through forgery.

Referring to a letter of Tata Group chief Ratan Tata to co-accused and former communications minister A. Raja, Balwa’s counsel Majid Memon told the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court that the missive confirmed that a donation of Rs.20 crore was made by the Tata trust to a hospital in the former minister’s constituency.

Balwa told Judge O.P. Saini that the letter, written Sep 15, 2009, said that “we have never made a grant of this size in the trust’s history, it is a special case made after considerable deliberation”.

Raising questions over the donation, Balwa’s counsel said: “This is the easiest way to seek favour… the donation was highly suspicious. Why the CBI did not probe the issue further.”

“To assume my client had to pass on Rs.200 crore for favour, as it is alleged by the CBI, why (would he) not give a cheque in the same manner… am I (Balwa) such a fool that I don’t know how money can be given for a favour sought,” said Balwa’s counsel.

Countering allegations that he knew in advance the deadline for the applications, Balwa said that all the 13 participating companies had their financial documents ready on the same day.

“So, should it be considered that all the 13 knew about it in advance… if so, then why aren’t the other 12 charged,” Balwa said, claiming that the probe agency was unfairly targeting Swan.

Balwa alleged that Videocon chairman Dhoot got the licence and start-up spectrum for second generation (2G) telecom services through forgery.

“Dhoot flashed the ID card of Rajkumar Dhoot who is his brother and member of parliament and also member of some telecom committee in parliament,” Memon said.

“Because of this he was given preference and entered the Department of Telecom (DoT) first and hence got the licence,” he added.

Asking why the CBI was not probing Dhoot’s role, he said: “He cheated the DoT posing as Rajkumar Dhoot, then why is the CBI not probing this matter… why is it being ignored.” Memon also denied the CBI’s allegation that Balwa was an insider.

“If I assume I was an insider then why has Swan not got Haryana and Rajasthan circles, which are the most lucrative? Delhi is not a lucrative circle. Where is the question of I being a blue-eyed baby of a minister (former telecom minister A. Raja)?”

Videocon was among the nine new companies that got 2G licences in 2008.

Balwa also spoke and said he was the one who submitted the Letter of Intent first as he was “agile”.

“I ran that day, took the staircase when all the other people got stuck in the elevator. A major scuffle took place outside the room that day. You cannot blame me as I am agile and submitted the LoI in time,” said Balwa.

Balwa said that the ministry of corporate affairs warned the CBI and repeatedly told it that the course of action taken by the agency in this case was wrong.

“The department of telecom (DoT), the registrar of companies and the ministry of corporate affairs have warned the CBI… DoT is the best authority to reject my application. If there was an error in the application and documents then my licence should have been terminated. Why wasn’t it done,” he asked.

Balwa concluded his arguments Tuesday. Vinod Goenka, managing director of D.B. Realty, would initiate his arguments next.

The CBI has charged 14 accused and three companies with causing a loss of Rs.30,984 crore to the exchequer by selling the scarce resource, also called radio frequency that helps carry telecom signals, to private players cheap.

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