PM, ministers decided against 2G auction: Kanimozhi (Lead)

August 23rd, 2011 - 8:15 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Aug 23 (IANS) The prime minister and the then finance minister P. Chidambaram were aware of the 2G licence allocations and had decided with the now-jailed former communications minister A. Raja not to auction these, DMK MP and accused Kanimozhi Tuesday told a Delhi court hearing the spectrum case.

“The (three) are good enough as witnesses to prove that there was no loss (to the exchequer),” Kanimozhi told Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Special Judge O.P. Saini here.

Senior counsel Sushil Kumar, appearing for Kanomozhi, told the court that they were presenting the minutes of a meeting in which Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Chidambaram and Raja had decided that licences for 2G spectrum were not to be auctioned.

Pleading that the case against Kanimozhi be discharged, the defending counsel said: “The CBI case is based on the premise that the accused caused huge loss to the state exchequer by not auctioning licences for the 2G spectrum. The moment the loss factor goes out, how can the investigative agency impose charges of cheating on my client?”

Sushil Kumar also trashed the computation of the loss by the CBI and the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG), claiming these to be “just notional losses”, something that could not be the basis for prosecution.

“The CAG report (putting the losses at Rs 1.76 lakh crore to the state exchequer) was laid before the Lok Sabha Nov 16, 2010,” Sushil Kumar argued. “It had not been adopted by the house. It is still in limbo as the house is yet to adopt the report.” In the absence of parliamentary acceptance, the report lacked evidence value, he said.

“Both the charge sheets of the CBI show losses of Rs.22,000 crore and Rs.30,000 crore. I cannot understand the actual loss caused by my client,” Sushil Kumar told the court.

“No offence is committed as far as 2G is concerned, as the rate of application money was already fixed at Rs.1,600,” counsel said. He added that there was no question of conspiracy when this rate was already fixed.

Sushil Kumar also said: “Though Kanimozhi is an accused in the 2G case, she is a Rajya Sabha MP. The CBI has referred to her as a private party in the charge sheet. The CBI did not get the mandatory permission from the Rajya Sabha chairperson to prosecute a sitting MP.”

Kanimozhi informed the court that she was not aware of the Rs.200 crore transaction involving Kalaignar TV, of which she was a shareholder. She said she was not involved in the day-to-day operations of the channel.

Defence counsel said that the CBI allegation against Kanimozhi was that she was the controlling mind behind Kalaignar TV. The allegation that she took decisions behind the scenes was baseless.

“It’s only the board of directors who control the company and they alone can be held responsible for criminal liability,” he said.

He said the financial affairs of Kalaignar TV were managed by its managing director Sharad Kumar. Like Kanimozhi, Sharad Kumar owns 20 percent stake in the channel and has been charge sheeted by the CBI.

The CBI alleged that a DB Group company paid the Rs.200 crore “bribe” amount to Kalaignar TV through a circuitous route in return for the favour shown by Raja in allocating spectrum to Swan Telecom.

During the course of argument on the charge, Kanimozhi appeared relaxed and was seen smiling throughout the arguments. Her husband was also standing beside her.

Sushil Kumar also said that Kanimozhi was being targeted because she was the daughter of M. Karunanidhi, who heads the DMK.

The first set of charge sheets, filed in the case April 2, had named Raja, eight others and the three telecom companies as co-conspirators.

The supplementary charge sheets, filed April 25, named Kanimozhi, Sharad Kumar, Cineyug Films founder Karim Morani and two others as the accused.

Kanimozhi has been accused by the CBI of accepting a bribe along with her party colleague and former minister Raja.

Acting on Raja’s request, the court allowed him to highlight Wednesday some of the key points in the case.

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