New Delhi: While the Delhi High Court on Monday was hearing an application seeking early hearing in the 2G spectrum case, the accused persons, including former Telecom Minister A. Raja, businessman Shahid Balwa and others, opposed the said application filed by the CBI and the ED.
When the matter was being heard by Justice Brijesh Sethi, Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Sanjay Jain informed the court that the matter is of public interest and since Justice Sethi is due to demit his office on November 30, the court may hear the matter expeditiously.
Responding to the arguments, the counsels appearing for the various accused persons opposed the plea moved by the agencies. Advocate Manu Sharma, appearing for A. Raja, argued that there was no reason to grant an out-of-turn, urgent hearing to the appeals moved by the CBI and the ED amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
Advocates Vijay Aggarwal, Mudit Jain and Ashul Agarwal, representing Shahid Balwa and several others, too opposed the said petition and stated that the CBI has not explained as to why the appeal filed by them should be given precedence/preference over other appeals.
“Why is the appeal so important and be given this much priority when there are several pending matters wherein the accused persons are languishing in jail,” Aggarwal argued.
He further argued that allowing the application for early hearing shall be against the interest of justice, as the respondents shall not get adequate opportunity as the records run into lakhs of pages.
“However, to address the arguments, each person will not even get 0.89 day to argue his or her case as the concerned judge is scheduled to demit his office. Justice hurried is justice burried,” Aggarwal said.
The court will now hear the matter on Tuesday.
The probe agencies, both CBI and ED, had moved the court in March 2018 challenging the trial court’s order which had acquitted all the accused persons in the 2G spectrum case. In 2017, a special CBI court acquitted all the 18 accused, including A. Raja and K. Kanimozhi.
The scam came to light almost seven years ago when the Comptroller and Auditor General in a report held then Telecom Minister A. Raja responsible for causing the state exchequer a loss of Rs 1,76,379 crore by allocating 2G spectrum licences at throwaway prices.
However, the trial court found that the prosecution failed to prove the charges. This verdict, however, didn’t override the Supreme Court judgement or take away from the fact that the licences issued during 2G spectrum allocation were illegal.