2G scam: Court to frame charges on Oct 22

New Delhi: A Delhi court will pronounce on October 22 its order on framing of charges in the 2G spectrum case, involving former Telecom Minister A Raja, DMK MP Kanimozhi and 15 others.

"Put up for order on charge on October 22," said Special CBI Judge O P Saini, reserving its order on the crucial stage of the framing of charges, after which a formal trial begins in a criminal case. In the process of framing of charges, the court decides as to who among the accused has sufficient prima facie evidence against him to be put on trial.

The court also made it clear that it would resume hearing on the bail applications of various accused, including DMK MP Kanimozhi, from October 24. The court reserved its order after Special Public Prosecutor U U Lalit wrapped up his rebuttal arguments on framing of additional charges of criminal breach of trust under the Indian Penal Code against all the 17 accused.

The Special Court set up to try the 2G scam accused exclusively reserved its order on framing of charges a day after a Supreme Court bench monitoring the case asked CBI as to how long it was going to keep the accused in jail. "The question is how many days they are going to be behind bars as the trial is yet to start. Will it be over in seven years," the apex court had asked.The bench observed that the 2G case accused have been behind bars for over seven months now, while the court was yet to decide on framing of charges.

Besides Raja and Kanimozhi, other accused in the case include the minister`s erstwhile Private Secretary RK Chandolia, former Telecom Secretary Siddhartha Behura, DMK-run Kalaignar TV`s MD Sharad Kumar, Bollywood filmmaker Karim Morani and Reliance Anil Dhirubhai Ambani group`s executives Hari Nair, Gautam Doshi and Surrendra Pipara.

Besides. telecom firms Reliance Telecom Ltd, Swan Telecom and Unitech (Tamil Nadu) Wireless Ltd, the other accused in the case include 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 CBI charge sheet accuses Raja and others of causing a whopping loss of Rs 30,984 crore to the exchequer by allocating spectrum to ineligible operators as per a criminal conspiracy among themselves.Their acts also involved commission of penal offences of forgery and cheating, besides the misuse of official position by public servants as per the provisions of the Anti Corruption Act.

Towards the fag end of conclusion of argument on framing of charges, the CBI had also sought slapping the charge of criminal breach of trust against the accused. The new charge, entails a sentence of life term on conviction. All the accused have vehemently opposed the allegations levelled against them by the CBI.