2G case: Firm director urges HC to ask govt to place documents relating to CBI appeal

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New Delhi, Nov 2 (PTI) Kusegaon Fruits and Vegetables director Rajiv Agarwal, who along with former telecom minister A Raja was acquitted in the 2G spectrum allocation case, urged the Delhi High Court on Monday to direct the government to place on record the documents containing the process to be followed before taking a decision to file an appeal.

In a petition, Agarwal has challenged the decision making process behind the order passed by the central government which gave approval to the agency to file an appeal against the acquittal of the accused.

After hearing the submissions on behalf of Agarwal, Justice Brijesh Sethi said it will hear on Tuesday arguments on behalf of another acquitted individual, former telecom secretary Siddharth Behura.

Advocate Vijay Aggarwal, appearing for Rajiv Agarwal, said he was not challenging the actual decision taken by the government but as to whether the decision taken by the Centre is arrived at properly or not.

He argued that the appeal filed by the CBI was unstructured and was filed without application of mind and urged the court to direct the authorities to place on record the complete file containing the process which was followed before taking decision to file the appeal.

The counsel also questioned the conduct of the government as to why it was shying away from placing the record before the court and questioned as to whether it can seek exemption from scrutiny of the court.

In their petitions, Behura and Agarwal have contended that the agency 'has not placed on record the copies of the complete record of the due process to be complied as per CBI manual including report of public prosecutor and Director of Prosecution submitted to the central government for mandatory approval to file appeal against acquittal and not placed any direction of either Solicitor General Tushar Mehta or CBI counsel Sanjiv Bhandari to prefer leave to appeal/appeal'.

They have contended that in the alleged absence of such documents, any prior approval granted by the central government would be without application of mind.

CBI had earlier argued before the high court that the trial court verdict acquitting all accused was decided to be challenged as an opinion was received that “it is a fit case to prefer an appeal”.

The agency had said that the opinion was received from the Ministry of Law and Justice which examined the proposal of the probe agency to file a criminal appeal.

The CBI had said that it was apprised through a letter by the Department of Personnel and Training in January 2018 that the law and justice ministry opined that “it is a fit case to prefer an appeal”.

The submissions were made and related documents were shown to that court by CBI in response to an application by Kusegaon Fruits and Vegetables Pvt Ltd promoter Asif Balwa seeking a copy of the sanction letter of the central government to the CBI to file an appeal against the acquittal of the accused in the case.

The high court has commenced day-to-day hearing on CBI’s ‘leave to appeal’ against the acquittal of all the individuals and firms. After finishing submissions in the CBI case, the high court will take up the ED’s money laundering case in which also all the accused were acquitted by the special court.

Leave to appeal is a formal permission granted by a court to a party to challenge a decision in a higher court.

A special court had on December 21, 2017 acquitted Raja, DMK MP Kanimozhi and others in the CBI and the ED cases related to the scam.

Besides Raja and Kanimozhi, the special court had acquitted Behura; Raja's erstwhile private secretary R K Chandolia; Unitech Ltd MD Sanjay Chandra and three top executives of Reliance Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group (RADAG) -- Gautam Doshi, Surendra Pipara and Hari Nair, in the 2G case filed by the CBI.

Swan Telecom promoters Shahid Balwa and Vinod Goenka, Asif Balwa and Rajiv Agarwal were also acquitted in the CBI case.

The special court had also acquitted Swan Telecom (P) Ltd; Unitech Wireless (Tamil Nadu) Ltd; Reliance Telecom Ltd; film producer Karim Morani and Director of Kalaignar TV Sharad Kumar in the CBI case.

In March 2018, the ED and CBI had approached the high court challenging the special court's order acquitting all the accused. PTI SKV HMP SA