Jailed Goenka says he is innocent (Lead)

August 3rd, 2011 - 6:41 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Aug 3 (IANS) Denying any role in the 2G spectrum scam, Swan Telecom director Vinod Goenka said Wednesday it was his company’s promoter Shahid Usman Balwa who looked after affairs of the telecom sector.

Goenka, who has been in jail for four months, told the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) special court here through his counsel that he (Goenka) was in charge of only real estate business.

“To obtain 2G licence, Balwa was given the power of attorney by the company (DB Realty). Balwa was handling the telecom sector while my client (Goenka) was only in the business of real estate,” Goenka’s counsel K.G. Menon told CBI special judge O.P. Saini.

Menon said when his client was not in charge of telecom business, how could he be charged with obtaining the telecom licence for his company for second-generation spectrum.

He also clarified that Goenka’s meeting with former communications minister A. Raja at his residence in 2005 was not an act to facilitate issuance of the 2G licence.

“It is true that Goenka accompanied Balwa many times to Raja’s residence in 2005 but a visit to the minister’s home cannot make you a co-conspirator,” defence counsel said.

He denied the CBI’s allegation that Goenka sought a favour for Swan against payments in tranches.

Menon said action was taken against Goenka only because of media hype “and pressure from all sides”.

“My client never participated in anything except that he took share in Swan… In the charge sheet the prosecution must point out the specific role (he played) so that my client can be connected with the crime he is alleged to have committed,” said the defence counsel.

Menon insisted that the CBI had no evidence against Goenka.

“My client has not played any role whatsoever at any stage. I (Goenka) have not signed any cheques… he was not concerned with the decisions taken in the telecom sector and there is nothing with the agency to suggest that Goenka was involved in giving illegal gratification,” he added.

“The CBI can’t charge my client just for being a director of the company in question,” Menon said.

“You can’t hold my client responsible of criminal liability even when he has no role to play,” Menon told the court.

Goenka’s counsel accused the probe agency of damaging his reputation and said: “No biggest loss can be done to a person than damaging his reputation and the CBI has done it by arresting him even without having sufficient prima facie evidence.”

Goenka’s arguments concluded Wednesday. Swan Telecom Ltd. will initiate its arguments Thursday.

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