2G: Tina Ambani Trying to Drag Trial, Says CBI

New Delhi
2G: Tina Ambani Trying to Drag Trial, Says CBI

The CBI today opposed the plea of Tina Ambani, wife of Reliance ADA Group Chairman Anil Ambani, seeking exemption from personal appearance as a witness in the 2G spectrum case in a Delhi court, saying it is like "dragging the trial".

"We will file our reply. It's like dragging the trial. Earlier Mr Ambani had filed a plea seeking time and now Mrs Ambani is seeking time. We will argue on this," CBI prosecutor K K Goel said after Tina Ambani sought exemption from personal appearance as a witness in the court on August 23.

Special CBI Judge O P Saini asked CBI to file its reply on the plea and fixed the matter for arguments on August 21.

Tina Ambani has been summoned as a CBI witness by the court and her recording of statement is scheduled for August 23. The court has also summoned Anil Ambani for August 22 to depose as a witness in the case.

In her plea, she said due to "prior commitments" it will not be possible for her to travel to Delhi on August 23.

"I wish to state that owing to prior commitments, it will not be possible for me to travel to Delhi on August 23, 2013. I request your honour (judge) to kindly grant an adjournment for my appearance and fix a new date at any time towards the end of September 2013 or preferably October 2013 at your convenience," she said.

She also said that summons dated July 26 has been received by her on August 6.

Earlier, Anil Ambani, who was scheduled to depose in the court on July 26, had moved a plea for exemption from personal exemption on the grounds that he has "pre-scheduled" business engagements. The court on July 25 had allowed his plea and had later summoned him for August 22 for recording of statement.

The court, on July 19, had allowed CBI's plea to make Anil and Tina Ambani as prosecution witnesses after the agency had said their testimonies may throw light on alleged investment of over Rs 990 crore by his group companies in Swan Telecom, facing trial in the case along with its promoters Shahid Usman Balwa and Vinod Goenka.

It had said that CBI's plea to summon Ambani, his wife and 11 others as prosecution witnesses was essential for arriving at a just decision in the case.

In a related development, accused firm Reliance Telecom Ltd today made an oral plea that the court could allow Sumit Choithani, Deputy Vice President of HDFC Bank Ltd, to depose as witness on August 21 or 22 instead of those witnesses who have already been summoned on that dates.

Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for RTL, said Choithani, who was present in the court today in pursuance to the summon issued to him, can be examined on August 22.

RTL had moved the court on August 17 with a plea saying it should await outcome of the apex court's proceedings on their petition challenging summoning of additional witnesses, including Anil Ambani and Tina Ambani, before examining them.

During the hearing today, Rohatgi said, "My request is that my plea (pending before the Supreme Court) should not become infructuous."

"Adjustment of one day will not make any difference. I do not expect that the Supreme Court will pass an order on August 21," he said, adding, "Today Choithani is here. You can call him on August 22."

CBI, however, said Anil Ambani is scheduled to come on August 22 and no other witness should be called on that day.

"Five (additional) witnesses have been examined. Supreme Court has not given any stay. If Supreme Court will pass order, we are bound by it. Summons have been served for August 22. We think he (Anil Ambani) will appear as he has already sought time once," the CBI prosecutor said.

The judge, after hearing the arguments, said the RTL's plea would be heard on August 21.

RTL, along with others, including former Telecom Minister A Raja and DMK MP Kanimozhi, is facing trial in 2G case.

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