The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Monday moved the Delhi High Court challenging the special 2G court order acquitting former telecom minister A Raja, DMK MP Kanimozhi and others in a money-laundering case in connection with 2G spectrum allocation case. Sources said the agency challenged the order passed by special judge O P Saini on the ground that he “ignored the gravity of offence” and “committed grave error” by acquitting the accused under sections of Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
“The special judge chose not to deal with those judgments though specifically cited that the courts have held that the offence of money-laundering is an independent offence… the judge completely misdirected himself in holding that the offence of money-laundering has not taken place merely because of acquittal of the accused in offences investigated and tried by the CBI,” sources said.
“We hope the High Court will appreciate our plea and grant us relief. The agency has very strong evidence against the accused as far as the offence of money-laundering is concerned,” ED Joint Director Rajeshwar Singh, who investigated the case, said. Besides Raja and Kanimozhi, the special court had on December 21 last year acquitted 17 others, including DMK supremo M Karunanidhi’s wife Dayalu Ammal, Shahid Balwa and Vinod Goenka of STPL, Asif Balwa and Rajiv Aggarwal of Kusegaon Fruits and Vegetables Pvt Ltd, film producer Karim Morani, P Amirtham and Sharad Kumar, director of Kalaignar TV. The ED, in its chargesheet, had alleged that Rs 200 crore was paid by Swan Telecom (P) Ltd (STPL) promoters to DMK-run Kalaignar TV.
The same day, the trial court acquitted Raja, Kanimozhi and 15 others, including former telecom secretary Siddharth Behura, Raja’s erstwhile private secretary R K Chandolia, Swan Telecom promoters Shahid Usman Balwa and Vinod Goenka, Unitech Ltd managing director Sanjay Chandra and three top executives of Reliance Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group (RADAG), Gautam Doshi, Surendra Pipara and Hari Nair, in the CBI’s 2G case.
In its appeal filed by special public prosecutor Rajeev Awasthi, sources said the ED has said that the special judge “casually ignored the proved evidence” through documents that “Rs 43.75 crore cash was given for accommodation by taking cheque of the equal amount”. The appeal further states, sources said, that the judge “failed to apply its mind to the facts and circumstances of the present case in the backdrop of legal position in the PMLA”.