The Enforcement Directorate (ED), on 19 March, moved the Delhi High Court challenging a special CBI court judgment acquitting former telecom minister A Raja, DMK MP Kanimozhi and others of charges under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) in the 2G scam.
On 21 December 2017, the special CBI court acquitted 17 people who were charged with both Prevention of Corruption Act and PMLA in the 2G case
What is ED’s Case?
ED investigation under PMLA revealed that an amount to the tunes of Rs 200 crore was paid by promoters of Swan Telecom (using their group entity Dynamix Realty) to Kalignar TV, in the garb of legitimate financial transaction ie as loan/share application money.
According to the agency, this payment was illegal gratification for Raja in lieu of favours given to Swan Telecom while granting 2G licences.
Further, the investigation revealed that the return of Rs 200 crore has been done along with the additional amount in order to make the receipt of illegal payment appear as a legal and bonafide financial transaction.
The Grounds of ED’s Appeal
- Special CBI judge ignored the gravity of the offence and the role of the respondents, as well as proved testimonies of the 24 witnesses and documents establishing money trail in serious offence of money laundering.
- Special CBI judge committed grave error by acquitting the accused in the offence of Prevention of Money Laundering on the basis of acquittal in the CBI case and without applying mind and considering the offence under PMLA as a separate, independent and standalone offence to be tried and adjudicated.
- The judge chose not to deal with those judgements though specially cited that the hon'ble courts have held that the offence of money laundering is an independent offence.
- The judge has completely misdirected himself in holding that the offence of money laundering has not taken place merely because of acquittal of accused in the offences investigated and tried by the CBI.
- The judge gravely erred by not appreciating the fact that the hon'ble SC had examined large number of documents and various other material and ordered cancellation of 122 licenses granted during the tenure of A Raja to various persons.
Besides Raja and Kanimozhi, the special CBI court had 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 CBI had in its chargesheet claimed a loss of Rs 30,984 crore to the exchequer in allocation of licences for the 2G spectrum which were scrapped by the apex court on 2 February 2012.
Special Judge OP Saini, however, had then held that the prosecution had “miserably failed” to prove the charges.
In the CBI case, Raja, Kanimozhi and 15 others were tried under provisions of the IPC and the Prevention of Corruption Act dealing with offences of criminal conspiracy, cheating, forgery, using as genuine fake documents, abusing official position, criminal misconduct by public servant and taking bribe.
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