Kanimozhi, Raja challenge pleas for early hearing of 2G appeals

Chennai: DMK MP and former Telecom Minister A Raja, DMK MP Kanimozhi, Swan Telecom promoter Shahid Balwa and others have opposed the CBI and Enforcement Directorate pleas seeking early hearing of the probe agencies’ appeals challenging the acquittal of individuals and firms in the 2G spectrum allocation scam cases.

Advocates representing the trio in the Delhi high court questioned why the CBI and ED had sought out-of-turn hearings despite restrictions forced by Covid-19, including the lack of regular legal assistance and the difficulties in going through voluminous documents pertaining to the case.

Lawyer Manu Sharma, who had defended Raja during the 2G trial, submitted that a sequence was being followed by the high court, giving priority to cases involving people already in jail. Appeals against acquittals are always kept last in the order of matters, he argued.

“Throughout the Covid period, the HC has issued circulars to only list urgent matters. This case being a voluminous one, involving complicated questions of fact, must be taken up when physical hearings resume,” he said.

The CBI and the ED sought early virtual hearing of their appeals saying that the country’s largest trial, which was conducted at the public exchequer’s cost, be brought to its logical conclusion.

Justice Brijesh Sethi, who heard the matter through video conferencing for nearly three hours, was told by Additional Solicitor General Sanjay Jain, representing the probe agencies, that arguments ought to be concluded in the public interest.


NT Bureau