The Delhi High Court will pronounce on Tuesday its order on the CBI and ED pleas seeking early hearing on their appeals challenging the acquittal of former telecom minister A Raja and others in the 2G spectrum allocation scam case. Justice Brijesh Sethi had reserved the order on the pleas on September 22.
The probe agencies have sought an early hearing of their ‘leave to appeal’ which are listed for October 12. Leave to appeal is a formal permission granted by a court to a party to challenge a decision in a higher court. They said substantial judicial time of the high court was consumed in hearing arguments in the case and it should be concluded before retirement of the judge on November 30.
Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Sanjay Jain, representing the CBI and the ED, earlier said that judicial time has already been invested in this matter and it should not go as a bad investment. He said if the arguments are not completed in the matter before retirement if the judge, they will have to start afresh.
The CBI has also sought advancing the hearing of the appeal challenging the acquittal of Essar Group promoters Ravi 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.
The acquitted individuals and firms have opposed the pleas saying the agencies have not shown the urgency so far and during the COVID-19 pandemic, the courts are following a particular sequence in conducting proceedings giving priority to cases where accused/ convicts are in jail and that pattern should not be disturbed.
They have submitted that in view of the pandemic, which is becoming more severe by the day and the physical functioning of the high court is restricted, it is not possible for the parties to fully prepare and instruct their counsels and hearings in the restricted environment would cause severe prejudice to them.
The CBI and the ED sought early virtual hearing of their appeals saying that the country’s largest trial, which was conducted at the public exchequer’s cost, be brought to its logical conclusion.
A special court had on December 21, 2017 acquitted Raja, DMK MP Kanimozhi and others in CBI and ED cases related to the scam.
It had acquitted 17 others, including DMK supremo M Karunanidhi’s wife Dayalu Ammal; Vinod Goenka, Asif Balwa; film producer Karim Morani; P Amirtham and Sharad Kumar, Director of Kalaignar TV in the ED case.
On the same day, the trial court had also 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 CBI’s 2G case.
Swan Telecom promoters Balwa and Vinod Goenka and directors of Kusegaon Fruits and Vegetables Pvt Ltd Asif Balwa and Rajiv Agarwal were also acquitted in the CBI case.
On March 19 2018, the ED had approached the high court challenging the special court’s order acquitting all the accused.
A day later, the CBI too had challenged in the high court the acquittal of the accused in the case