NEW DELHI: Promoters of Essar Group Anshuman and Ravi Ruia and Loop Telecom promoters I P Khaitan and Kiran Khaitan were today granted exemption from personal appearance by a Delhi court, which had summoned them as accused in the 2G case.
"Exemption applications of four accused (Ruias and Khaitans) are allowed for today only," Special CBI Judge O P Saini said after taking note of submission of Special Public Prosecutor U U Lalit that the agency was not opposing their plea.
Senior advocates Mukul Rohatgi and Parag Tripathi, appearing for Ruias and Khaitans respectively, moved separate applications for taking exemption from personal appearance for their clients on grounds including that they were residents of UAE and they have not been properly served with the summons.
Khaitans have also cited their "poor health" condition as additional ground in support of their exemption pleas. "The case against us is not a case under the Prevention of Corruption Act and, moreover, we have challenged the administrative order of the Delhi High Court by which this court was constituted to hear the 2G case," Rohatgi said.
The apex court would hear the matter on March 1 and the outcome would decide the forum and the course of trial against us, he added. "If we win, then this case against us would be tried by a magistrate and if we lose then this matter will proceed before this court," he said and sought a date of hearing during last week of March.
Vikas Saraf, Essar Group Director (Strategy and Planning), however, appeared and moved his bail application before the court today which asked the CBI to file a reply and posted it for hearing on March 17.
The court asked the CBI to provide the copy of the charge sheet along with all the relevant documents to the accused who have appeared before it. The authorised representatives of three firms, Loop Telecom Pvt Ltd, Loop Mobile India Ltd and Essar Tele Holdings which have also been charge sheeted along with their promoters also appeared today following the issuance of summons against them.
The CBI had filed its third charge sheet arising out of probe in the 2G scam case on December 12 last year, on which the special court had taken cognisance and issued summons to the five accused and three companies.
However, the court issued fresh summons on January 27 against the accused persons as they did not appear before it in pursuance to its earlier order. They had not appeared in the court on January 27 claiming the summons were not "duly" served on them.
The apex court had on February 15 refused to grant interim stay on the summons issued to them but agreed to decide their plea challenging the jurisdiction of the Special CBI Court in hearing their case in the absence of corruption charge against them. Essar, which has denied any involvement in the 2G case, contended the special court cannot proceed against them as they were not charged under the Prevention of Corruption Act.
The telecom firms had said they have been charge sheeted under section 420 (cheating) and 120B (criminal conspiracy) of the IPC and the charges were triable by a magistrate and not by the special court constituted under the Prevention of Corruption Act for hearing the 2G case.