NEW DELHI: The CBI prosecutor, conducting cross-examination of former Telecom Minister A Raja in the 2G spectrum allocation case trial, today faced the ire of special court for repeating questions by putting it in a "circuitous manner".
Irked over the delay in completing the cross-examination, Special CBI Judge O P Saini directed senior public prosecutor K K Goel to conclude it "expeditiously" so that trial of the case is not delayed.
Goel has become the main prosecutor in the case as senior advocate U U Lalit, who was appointed as the special public prosecutor for holding the trial, has stopped appearing before the special 2G court following his name being considered for appointment as judge of the Supreme Court.
The court's observations came after Goel said he be granted some time to proceed with further cross-examination as he has to discuss the matter with the investigating officer and take instructions from CBI.
"The cross-examination started with cut-off date and still we are on cut-off date after so many days. The prayer (of the prosecutor), on the face of it, deserves to be declined, but with all reluctance at my command, the prayer is granted with the direction to complete the cross-examination expeditiously so that the trial is not delayed unnecessarily," the judge said.
"It is impressed upon the senior public prosecutor not to repeat the questions by putting the same in different language or in a circuitous manner," the court observed.
It also noted that two days time was earlier granted to CBI on July 17 on a similar prayer by the prosecutor when he had said that he required sometime for preparing the matter considering the voluminous nature of the case.
"Both July 18, 2014 and July 19, 2014 were working days and the matter was adjourned till today. The cross-examination had started on July 7 but it is nowhere near completion," the judge observed while deferring Raja's cross examination.
Raja is deposing as a witness to defend himself in the ongoing 2G case trial.
During the cross-examination, Raja told the court that the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) had taken the decision to issue letters of intent (LoIs) to the applicant seeking 2G licence in a simultaneous manner and the issue was discussed with the then Solicitor General (SG) to have his opinion.
"It is wrong to suggest that the SG never concurred with the idea of issuance of UAS (unified access service) licence to an LoI holder who complied with the conditions first," he said.
The CBI prosecutor asked Raja whether the "new stipulation of licence to an LoI holder, who complies with the LoI first, was added by you in order to help Swan Telecom (P) Limited and Unitech group of companies?"
Responding to this, Raja said, "It is incorrect for the reason that policy was applicable to all applicants uniformly".
Raja is facing trial in the case along with former Telecom Secretary Siddhartha Behura, DMK MP Kanimozhi, Swan Telecom promoters Shahid Usman Balwa and Vinod Goenka, Unitech Ltd MD Sanjay Chandra, Reliance ADAG executives Gautam Doshi, Surendra Pipara and Hari Nair.
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 servant and taking bribe.