2G scam: Shahid Balwa backs out from deposing as a defence witness

New Delhi: Swan Telecom promoter Shahid Usman Balwa today stepped back from deposing as a witness to defend himself in the ongoing 2G spectrum allocation scam case trial before a special court, saying he does not wish to examine himself.

Balwa, who is facing trial in the case along with former Telecom Minister A Raja, DMK MP Kanimozhi and several other accused, had earlier filed an application in the court seeking its permission to examine himself as a witness in his defence.

The court had allowed Balwa's plea and his deposition was scheduled to be recorded today.

However, as soon as the proceedings started today, Balwa told Special CBI Judge OP Saini that he does not want to examine himself as a witness.

 2G scam: Shahid Balwa backs out from deposing as a defence witness

Shahid Balwa. Reuters image

"Only accused Shahid Usman Balwa remains to be examined, who had given an application in writing that he may be permitted to examine himself as a witness in his own defence. No other defence witness remains to be examined.

"However, he (Balwa) submits that he does not wish to examine himself as witness in his own defence and his defence evidence may be deemed to have been closed. His statement recorded separately. His defence evidence stands closed," the judge said.

The court also said defence evidence of all other accused has already been closed and only cross examination of one of the defence witnesses, ND Gupta, was going on. 

Meanwhile, the court would tomorrow hear the application filed by CBI seeking its permission to summon some persons as prosecution witnesses, including Enforcement Directorate (ED) Deputy Director Rajeshwar Singh, in connection with the case.

CBI had said these persons were required to be examined as witnesses in the ongoing trial as some new facts have emerged in the probe conducted by ED which had filed a separate charge sheet against 19 accused in a 2G scam related money laundering case.

Besides Rajeshwar Singh, CBI has sought court's permission to call ED's Assistant Director Satyendra Singh, Under Secretary of Ministry of Information and Broadcasting Navil Kapur and bank official D Mani.

Apart from these four persons, the agency has also sought to recall General Manager (Finance) of Kalaignar TV (P) Ltd G Rajendran, who had earlier deposed as a witness in the case, for further examination.

Raja, Kanimozhi, Shahid Balwa, former telecom secretary Siddharth Behura, Raja's erstwhile private secretary RK Chandolia, Swan Telecom promoter Vinod Goenka, Unitech Ltd MD Sanjay Chandra, Reliance ADAG executives Gautam Doshi, Hari Nair and Surendra Pipara are facing trial in the case.

Besides them, Bollywood producer Karim Morani, Kalaignar TV Managing Director Sharad Kumar and Directors of Kusegaon Fruits and Vegetables Pvt Ltd, Asif Balwa and Rajiv Agarwal, are also facing trial in the case.

Besides these 14 accused, three telecom firms-- Swan Telecom Pvt Ltd, Reliance Telecom Ltd and Unitech Wireless (Tamil Nadu) Pvt Ltd-- are also accused in the case.

The court had on October 22, 2011 framed charges against them under various provisions of the IPC and the Prevention of Corruption Act dealing with offences of criminal conspiracy, cheating, forgery, faking documents, abusing official position, criminal misconduct by public servants and taking bribe.

The offences entail punishment ranging from six months in jail to life imprisonment.

PTI

Updated Date: Sep 09, 2014 19:03:48 IST