A special court today imposed a penalty of Rs one lakh on Swan Telecom promoter Shahid Usman Balwa, who had sought permission to withdraw answers given by him earlier to the court in the 2G scam case trial, while allowing his plea to record afresh his statement before it.
Special CBI Judge O P Saini, however, did not allow the contention of CBI to cancel bail of Balwa, an accused in the 2G case. The court passed the order on Balwa’s plea seeking permission to withdraw his answers given earlier during his deposition.
CBI had argued in court that Balwa’s plea was nothing but a “sinister design” to take the court for a “ride”. During the arguments, Special Public Prosecutor U U Lalit had submitted that Balwa’s earlier contention that he had failed to understand the questions asked by the court under the provisions of CrPC was not an “inadvertent error” and it was a “smart and calculated” move. He had also contended that it was a “breach of faith” reposed by the court on the accused and he must be fair to the court. Balwa’s counsel, however, had submitted that it was only an inadvertent error and that nothing had been done deliberately.
On CBI’s contentions that bail granted earlier to Balwa may be cancelled, his lawyer had said it was not the case that his client has tampered with evidence or threatened any witness. The counsel had also said that if the court feels that something wrong has been done, he was offering unconditional apology.
CBI had earlier sought cancellation of the bail granted to Balwa, facing trial in the 2G case, saying his conduct requires reconsideration and recall of the relief given to him. Balwa had faced the court’s ire when it observed that he “deserved” to be taken into custody for his misconduct. He had filed a plea contending that he will “not raise any question of prejudice caused to him on grounds of non- understanding of any question asked by the court.
Balwa had said that during the recording of his statement, which was deferred by the judge, all questions were explained properly by the court. He had apologised to the judge, saying he had not done anything intentionally. He had offered the apology after CBI had alleged that Balwa had deliberately stated that he had not understood the questions being asked by the court.
The stage for the recording of evidence of former Telecom Minister A Raja and 16 other co-accused, including DMK MP Kanimozhi, was set earlier when the court supplied a draft questionnaire to the accused containing 1,718 questions and running into 824 pages.
Besides Raja, Kanimozhi and Balwa, former Telecom Secretary Siddharth Behura, Raja’s erstwhile private secretary R K Chandolia, Vinod Goenka, Unitech Ltd MD Sanjay Chandra and Reliance ADAG executives Gautam Doshi, Surendra Pipara and Hari Nair are facing trial in the case. Directors of Kusegaon Fruits and Vegetables Pvt Ltd, Asif Balwa and Rajiv Agarwal, Sharad Kumar and Bollywood producer Karim Morani are also accused in the case.
Besides these 14 accused, three telecom firms Swan Telecom Pvt Ltd, Reliance Telecom Ltd and Unitech Wireless (Tamil Nadu) Ltd are also facing trial in the case.