The Delhi High Court has asked the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), the Enforcement Directorate (ED), former telecom minister A Raja and others to submit their responses in the appeals challenging the acquittal of the accused in the 2G spectrum allocation case. Justice Dinesh Kumar Sharma has instructed that parties must file brief written submissions not exceeding five pages, said a PTI report.
While the CBI had earlier completed its submissions on the issue of leave to appeal, it will have to argue the matter afresh due to the change of judge. Leave to appeal is formal permission granted by a court to a party to challenge a decision in a higher court. The CBI had urged the court to list the matter on an early date for day-to-day hearings, and the judge fixed the matter for May 22 and 23.
Previously, the case was being heard on a day-to-day basis by Justice Brijesh Sethi, who retired on November 30 and released the matter from his board on November 23 due to a lack of time. Before his retirement, Justice Sethi had decided various petitions and applications filed by the acquitted individuals and firms in the three cases arising out of the 2G scam probe lodged by the CBI and ED.
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After finishing submissions in the CBI's main case, the high court will take up the ED's money laundering case in which all the accused were acquitted by the special court. A special court had, on December 21, 2017, acquitted Raja, DMK MP Kanimozhi and others in the CBI and ED cases related to the scam.
Besides Raja and Kanimozhi, the special court had acquitted former telecom secretary Siddharth Behura, Raja's erstwhile private secretary R K Chandolia, Unitech Ltd MD Sanjay Chandra, and three top executives of Reliance Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group (RADAG) Gautam Doshi, Surendra Pipara, and Hari Nair in the case filed by the CBI.
Swan Telecom promoters Shahid Balwa and Vinod Goenka and directors of Kusegaon Fruits and Vegetables Pvt Ltd, Asif Balwa and Rajiv Agarwal, were also acquitted. The special court had also acquitted Swan Telecom (P) Ltd, Unitech Wireless (Tamil Nadu) Ltd, Reliance Telecom Ltd, film producer Karim Morani, and Director of Kalaignar TV Sharad Kumar in the CBI case.
On the same day, the special court also acquitted 19 accused, including Raja, Kanimozhi, DMK supremo M Karunanidhi's wife Dayalu Ammal, Vinod Goenka, Asif Balwa, Karim Morani, P Amirtham, and Sharad Kumar in the ED case. The special court had also acquitted Essar Group promoters Ravi Kant Ruia and Anshuman Ruia, Loop Telecom promoters I P Khaitan and Kiran Khaitan, and four others in a separate case arising out of the 2G scam probe.
On March 19, 2018, the ED challenged the special court's order to acquit all the accused in the high court. The CBI also challenged the acquittal of the accused in the case the following day. The CBI had filed two cases, and the ED one, in connection with the alleged scam after a CAG report claimed that licenses for second-generation mobile networks were given at throwaway prices instead of carrying out free and fair auctions. The airwaves were alleged to have been allocated after taking bribes.