A Delhi court today fixed August 23 for hearing the arguments on separate pleas filed by Essar Teleholdings Limited (ETHL) and another accused in 2G spectrum allocation scam seeking a joint trial in the case.
Special CBI Judge O P Saini, who was scheduled to hear the arguments on the pleas of ETHL and private firm director Rajiv Agarwal, both facing trial in the case, posted the matter for August 23 after defence lawyers informed him that the hearing in the 2G case was listed before the Supreme Court today.
Advocate Vijay Agarwal, who appeared for Rajiv Agarwal, told the court that the 2G case was listed before the apex court today in the afternoon and thus the arguments on the plea for joint trial be heard on some other day.
ETHL, which is facing trial in a case arising out of the probe into the 2G scam along with the promoters of Essar Group and Loop Telecom, had moved the court seeking a joint trial with former Telecom Minister A Raja and others in the case. Agarwal, facing trial along with Raja and 15 others, too had filed a similar plea in the court.
CBI, however, had opposed their move saying the pleas were "intended solely" to delay the proceedings. In its reply, the agency had said both the pleas "illegally seek" to interpret the Supreme Court's order and the trial court does not have the "necessary jurisdiction" to entertain the same. ETHL, in its plea, had sought joint trial citing a recent Supreme Court order holding them as co-accused in the case.
ETHL had said since they have been treated as "co-accused" by the apex court, a separate trial would constitute "breach of directions of the SC" and there was a possibility that evidence being recorded in Raja's case might be used against it.
The apex court had on July 1 this year dismissed the plea of ETHL and Loop Telecom that they, along with their promoters, cannot be tried in the case arising out of 2G scam by the special CBI court as they have not been charged under the Prevention of Corruption Act.
CBI, in its reply, had said the appropriate forum for clarification, if any, on the apex court's order is the Supreme Court itself and their plea for seeking a joint trial in the case should be dismissed. "As such, both these applications illegally seek to interpret the aforesaid order of the Supreme Court and invite this court to become part of such an illegal exercise.
CBI, in its reply, had said no direction for a joint trial was "contained" in the apex court's July 1, 2013 order. Essar group promoters Ravi Ruia and Anshuman Ruia and its Director (Strategy and Planning) Vikash Saraf are facing trial in the case along with Loop Telecom promoters I P Khaitan and Kiran Khaitan and the three companies ETHL, Loop Telecom Pvt Ltd and Loop Mobile India Ltd.
ETHL and others are facing trial for the offence under Section 120 B (criminal conspiracy) read with Section 420 (cheating) of IPC, while a substantial charge of cheating has been framed against Saraf. Raja and Agarwal, along with 15 others, including DMK MP Kanimozhi, are facing trial in 2G case for various offences under the IPC and Prevention of Corruption Act.