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Raja remanded to 4 more days of CBI custody

New Delhi: Former Telecom Minister A Raja was on Thursday remanded to CBI custody for four more days by a special CBI court along with Swan Telecom promoter Shahid Usman Balwa for questioning in connection with their role in the 2G spectrum allocation scam.

"Considering the serious nature and facts of the case, further recovery of the documents and the need for further confrontation of the accused with each other and documents as well as their consequent interrogation, I find merit in the submission of the investigating agency seeking grant of four days police custody remand of both the accused," said Special Judge O P Saini, while remanding the duo to be in CBI custody till February 14.

"Prayer is allowed. Both the accused are remanded to police custody till February 14," the judge said.

Raja was arrested on February 2 and remanded to CBI custody initially for five days the next day.

On February 8, he was again remanded to CBI`s custody for two more days after the agency told the court that he was not cooperating during questioning and was being evasive.

CBI sought four days of custodial interrogation of Raja and Balwa, saying it is necessary for further probe.

Balwa`s arrest was necessary as he had been evading the agency, it said.

The agency counsel Akhilesh said the custody of both the accused was required for their confrontation with each other and that with various documents seized by the CBI during the probe.

It further said Balwa was not giving proper answers to questions concerning the share holding in Swan telecom and he has been hiding facts from the agency.

"He is a highly influential person," said the CBI counsel, seeking the remand for the duo.

Counsel for both Raja and Balwa opposed the CBI plea with latter`s counsel Vijay Kumar Aggarwal contending that his client has appeared at the CBI office on 27 occasions for interrogation.

He added if the accused is cooperating in the probe, there is no need for his arrest and custodial interrogation.

Balwa`s counsel also argued that a person cannot be arrested unless the offence is of grievous nature and unless it is necessary to recover some incriminating material necessary for investigation.

He also said a general statement that the accused can give further information cannot form the basis to remand him to police custody.

Asserting that his client has been cooperating with the investigating agency, Aggarwal added that Balwa was called to appear at the CBI office on February 6 and 7 when his mother had been admitted in Lilavati Hospital suffering from cardiac ailment.

He said the investigating agency has obtained non-bailable warrant against Balwa by concealing the fact that he is cooperating with the investigating agency.

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