2G PMLA Case: Raja, Kanimozhi, Others to Answer 400 Questions

New Delhi
2G PMLA Case: Raja, Kanimozhi, Others to Answer 400 Questions

Former Telecom Minister A Raja, DMK MP Kanimozhi and 17 others, facing trial in a 2G scam-related money laundering case, will have to answer a questionnaire containing 400 queries during recording of their statements in the matter before a special court.

The court today supplied the questionnaire to the counsel of the accused, observing that it would facilitate recording of statements with "ease and felicity" as the records of the case were technical and voluminous.

"For recording of statements of accused persons, questions were required to be drafted. The process of drafting of questionnaire is complete by today itself which runs into about 225 pages, containing 400 questions," Special CBI Judge O P Saini said.

"Since the records of the case are technical and voluminous, I deem it proper that if a draft copy of the questionnaire is supplied to counsel for each accused in advance, it would facilitate the recording of statements of accused persons as they would be able to understand the questions and reply to the same with ease and felicity," the judge said.

The court said, "Accordingly, a soft copy of the draft questionnaire, containing the questions to be put to each accused, has been supplied to the counsel for each accused and the prosecution also."

The recording of statements would commence from March 16.

The court clarified that although some of the questions might appear to be lengthy but it has been done so that the facts remain clear and compact.

"I may also add that some questions, on the face of it, may appear to be lengthy and complicated, but it is not so as documents and evidence relating to a particular fact have been inserted/recorded in a single question to make the fact clear, compact and easily understandable, otherwise there would have been a large number of questions, creating inconvenience for the parties as well as the court," the judge said.

Raja, Kanimozhi, DMK leader M Karunanidhi's wife Dayalu Ammal, Swan Telecom Pvt Ltd (STPL) promoters Shahid Usman Balwa and Vinod Goenka and 14 others, including nine firms, are facing trial in the case in which ED had on April 25, last year filed a charge sheet against them for alleged offences under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).

The other individual accused in the money laundering case are Directors of Kusegaon Fruits and Vegetables Pvt Ltd, Asif Balwa and Rajiv Agarwal, Kalaignar TV MD Sharad Kumar, Bollywood producer Karim Morani and P Amirtham. All of them are out on bail.

The court has also framed charges against accused firms STPL, Kusegaon Realty Pvt Ltd (formerly Kusegaon Fruits and Vegetables Pvt Ltd), Cineyug Media and Entertainment Pvt Ltd (formerly known as Cineyug Films Pvt Ltd), Kalaignar TV Pvt Ltd, Dynamix Realty, DB Realty Ltd, Eversmile Construction Company Pvt Ltd, Conwood Constructions and Developers (P) Ltd and Nihar Constructions Pvt Ltd.

The court, while supplying the questionnaire to counsel of the accused, said if any question is not understandable to any of the accused or their counsel, they are at a liberty to ask for clarifications.  

"If required, question(s) can be bifurcated or trifurcated to facilitate easy understanding thereof and answer thereto. I may also add that the questions are neither common nor joint, though the same are based on the same material or evidence," the judge said, adding, "Every accused has been put a separate question based on the material available on the record as per law."

If convicted of the charges alleged against them, Raja and others will face a maximum sentence of upto seven years.

The recording of statements of prosecution witnesses had commenced on November 17, last year and ED has examined 25 witnesses in the case. The recording of statements runs into approximately 600 pages.

This is the second case in the 2G spectrum allocation scam in which Raja, Kanimozhi and others are facing trial for their alleged involvement in the scam.

In the first case probed by CBI, Raja, Kanimozhi, Shahid Balwa, Goenka, Asif Balwa, Rajiv Agarwal, Morani and Sharad Kumar, along with others, are facing trial for criminal breach of trust, conspiracy, forgery, cheating and other offences punishable under the provisions of IPC and under Prevention of Corruption Act.

In the money laundering case, the court had on October 31, 2014 framed charges against the 19 accused saying that Raja, allegedly in connivance with Kanimozhi, Dayalu Ammal and other co-accused, was involved in "parking" of illegal gratification of Rs 200 crore in Kalaignar TV.

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