2G: Court Allows Raja to Cross-Examine Key Witness

New Delhi
2G: Court Allows Raja to Cross-Examine Key Witness
A court here holding the trial of the 2G spectrum case today asked former telecom minister A Raja to commence cross-examination of a key witness from September 10.

The court yesterday had allowed the plea of Raja that he will cross-examine A K Srivastava, a former deputy director general (AS) of the Department of Telecom (DoT), after co-accused and Swan Telecom Shahid Usman Balwa completes the cross-examination of the witness.

During the proceeding today, Raja sought time to cross examine Srivastava saying his counsel Sushil Kumar was not available during this week.

The other accused also told the court that they would cross-examine Srivastava, if needed, and that too after Raja finishes his examination.

"It is submitted by accused A Raja that he may be permitted to commence cross-examination of this witness with effect from September 10 and other accused submit that they would cross-examine him, only if the need be, after the cross-examination for accused A Raja is over.

"In view of the lengthy examination-in-chief of the witness, prayer is allowed with extreme reluctance, but this shall not become a precedent for seeking adjournment in future," Special CBI Judge O P Saini said.

The day's proceedings were adjourned after Balwa completed Srivastava's cross examination in 15 minutes time.

The court adjourned the proceedings till tomorrow for further prosecution evidence and listed Srivastava's cross examination for September 10.

"The prosecutor is at liberty to summon any witness at his discretion, whosoever, he may be able to serve as three four days were kept reserved for cross-examination of this witness on behalf of accused Shahid Usman Balwa on his prayer, but he has completed it within 15 minutes only and on account of that the court is suddenly left with no business at all for four days. No other witness is present or served for today," the judge said.

During cross-examination, Srivastava said it was correct that he used to meet MOC&IT (Minister of Communication and Information Technology) Raja as well as Secretary (Telecom) in their office in the course of official work and he also used to visit Raja at his camp office in case of need.

"I had not met accused Shahid Usman Balwa before January 10, 2008, the date on which he had come to committee room of DoT to collect LOIs. I had also not seen him in DoT alongwith R K Chandolia or Sidharath Behura or A Raja. I had also not seen him even in the camp office of the MOC&IT," he said.

Srivastava had testified that Raja was "final authority" to take decisions on policy matters. According to the CBI charge sheet, there was a loss of over Rs 30,000 crore to the exchequer in the allocation of 2G spectrum in 2008 during the tenure of A Raja.

Raja and DMK MP Kanimozhi, along with others, are facing trial for various offences like criminal conspiracy, cheating, forgery and faking documents under the Indian Penal Code and for the offences of abusing official position, getting bribe and criminal misconduct by public servant under the Prevention of Corruption Act.

The offences entail punishment ranging from six months in jail to life imprisonment.
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