NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Tuesday refused to set aside money laundering charges arising out of the 2G scam against Swan Telecom promoter Shahid Balwa and three others.
However, the court assured them that if the trial court found them guilty, they could file an appeal with the top court on the same day. “Liberty is granted to the petitioners to mention the matter before this court for listing on the very day that the trial court’s judgment is delivered.” said Justice J S Khehar.
Anand Grover, counsel for the Enforcement Directorate, told the court that the top court should not intervene now as the case in the trial court was nearing completion and charges were framed in 2014. During the hearing, advocate Vijay Aggarwal, who appeared for the accused, said the petitions had been pending for over one-and-a-half years in the apex court and if they are convicted they would have to go straight to jail without the matter being decided.
Referring to the order passed by the Special Court while framing charges against the accused, the counsel said the judge had relied upon the statements of accused, which were recorded before the investigating officer during the probe to put his clients on trial.
The bench said these issues can be raised by before the trial court. “Since the impugned order has been passed before the recording of evidence, it shall be open to the petitioners to reagitate all issues before the trial court,” the bench said. The order would also be applicable to the Balwa brothers — Shahid and Asif Usman Balwa, Rajiv B Agarwal, Vinod Goenka and five companies — Mystical Constructions, Kudegaon Reality, Dynamix Reality, D B Reality and Eversmile Construction. The CBI special court has already framed charges against all of them and it’s in the stage of final arguments.
Besides Balwa, the three others and five companies moved the apex court on October 30, 2014 seeking interim stay in the ED case. It was claimed that the alleged offences under the IPC and Prevention of Corruption Act, committed during 2007-08, were not part of the scheduled offences under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act till 31 May, 2009 and that the penal law could not be applied with retrospective effect.