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2G scam trial begins in special court in Delhi, witnesses depose

Special CBI Judge O.P. Saini started recording the statement of Anand Subramaniam, Assistant Vice President of Reliance Capital Ltd, as a prosecution witness.

Former telecom minister A Raja to be examined in the case Former telecom minister A Raja to be examined in the case
The trial in the 2G spectrum allocation case began in a special CBI court in Delhi on Friday.

All the 17 accused were brought to the special CBI court. Special CBI Judge O.P. Saini started recording the statement of Anand Subramaniam, Assistant Vice President of Reliance Capital Ltd, as a prosecution witness.

The court dismissed the plea of former telecom minister A. Raja for postponing of cross-examination of witnesses. The other accused opposed Raja's plea saying it will delay their trial.

The court had also summoned for Friday two other prosecution witnesses -- A.N. Sethuraman, Group President of Reliance Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group (ADAG), and Vinod Kumar Budhiraja, Chief Regulatory Officer of Etisalat DB Telecom Pvt Ltd, for examination.

They are among the over 150 witnesses named by the CBI for examination by the special court, which was set up exclusively by the Supreme Court to deal with the 2G case.

The CBI, in its first list, had submitted names of 28 persons to be examined as prosecution witnesses before the court in the month of November.

Out of the 28, 11 witnesses are from Reliance ADAG, which suggest the CBI wants to deal first with the charges against accused firms Reliance Telecom Ltd (RTL) and the Shahid Usman Balwa-promoted Swan Telecom.

Formal charges have already been framed against all the 17 accused, including Raja, DMK MP Kanimozhi and three corporate entities, in the case.

CBI Special Judge O.P. Saini had on October 22 ordered the trial to commence on November 11 with all the accused declining to plead guilty to various offences. All the 14 individuals accused in the case are in judicial custody.
 
While framing charges, the judge observed that there was prima facie evidence against Raja, his former private secretary R.K. Chandolia and former telecom secretary Siddhartha Behura.
 
The judge said evidence was also there against Reliance Telecom, Swan Telecom and Unitech (Tamil Nadu) Wireless. He said CBI had also given evidence to frame charges against three corporate executives of Reliance Group.
 
Others against whom charges have been framed are Swan Telecom promoter Shahid Usman Balwa, his cousin Asif Balwa, their colleague Rajeev Agarwal, Unitech Ltd's Sanjay Chandra and DB Realty's Vinod Goenka.
 
The judge said there was also a prima facie evidence for framing charges against Kalaignar TV chief Sharad Kumar and Cineyug founder Karim Morani.
 
The CBI, in its first chargesheet filed on April 2, had charged Raja and others with criminal conspiracy and causing a huge loss to the exchequer by allocating spectrum to ineligible operators.

With inputs from agencies