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Charges framed against Raja, 16 others

(Left) A RAJA (Right) KANIMOZHI

NEW DELHI: The 2G spectrum case on Saturday reached an important milestone with a Delhi court framing charges against all the 17 accused including former telecom minister A Raja and DMK MP Kanimozhi and corporate honchos.

Special CBI judge OP Saini also ordered that trial in the case will commence from November 11 with all the accused refusing to plead guilty to various offences.

“….Thereby, you all committed an offence punishable under Sections 120-B (criminal conspiracy) read with 409 (criminal breach of trust), 420 (cheating) 468 and 471 (forgery) of the Indian Penal Code and Section 7 or in alternative Section 11 read with Section 12 and 13(2) read with 13 (1b) of the Prevention of Corruption Act and within my cognisance,” the judge said in his 700-page order.

While framing charges, the judge observed that there is evidence against Raja, his former private secretary RK Chandolia and former Telecom Secretary Siddhartha Behura.

With Saturday’s development, the accused can now move for bail as observed by the Supreme Court during the hearing of the bail petition by Kanimozhi earlier.

The judge said evidence is there for framing of charges against telecom firms Reliance Telecom Ltd, Swan Telecom and Unitech (Tamil Nadu) Wireless Ltd.

He also said CBI has also brought evidence to frame charges against corporate executives of Reliance Anil Dhirubhai Ambani group’s Managing Director Gautam Doshi, Surendra Pipara, Group’s President and Hari Nair, senior Vice President.

Others against whom charges have been framed are Swan Telecom promoter Shahid Usman Balwa, his cousin Asif Balwa, their colleague Rajeev Agarwal, Unitech Ltd’s MD Sanjay Chandra and DB Realty MD Vinod Goenka.

The judge said there was prima facie evidence for framing charges also against Kalaignar TV’s MD Sharad Kumar and Bollywood filmmaker Karim Morani.

The court found prima facie evidence to frame various penal charges including cheating, forgery, abetment and criminal conspiracy against the accused.

It also found prima facie evidence of abuse of official position by Raja, Chandolia and Behura.

The court had reserved its order on October 14 after hearing day-to-day arguments on behalf of accused and the CBI for nearly two months.

The CBI, in its first chargesheet filed on April 2, had charged Raja and others with causing a huge loss of Rs 30,984 crore to the exchequer by allocating spectrum to ineligible operators as per a criminal conspiracy among themselves.

Special CBI Prosecutor UU Lalit had argued that there was “sufficient prima facie” evidence against all the accused to proceed with the trial as everyone of them was part of the conspiracy and the intent to commit offence “may be inferred from their knowledge”.

On the other hand, all the accused including Raja had vehemently opposed the framing of charges and the plea of CBI that they caused a loss to the state in the grant of spectrum licenses. (PTI)

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