Thursday, February 10, 2011

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Swan promoter Shahid Usman Balwa arrested

CBI was allowed two days transit remand of Swan Telecom promoter Shahid Usman Balwa by a Mumbai court to take him to Delhi and confront him with former Telecom Min A Raja, who is also in the agency's custody in connection with the 2G spectrum case.

Balwa, who was arrested on Tuesday evening from his Bandra residence, was produced before Special CBI Judge S C Chandak on Wednesday who allowed the agency two days of transit remand for his production before a Delhi court.

Arguing in the court, Balwa's counsel contended that the company of his client was being singled out and was being made "scape goat" despite some more firms being involved in the case.Countering the argument, the CBI counsel said that Balwa sold the licence to Etisalat, a UAE based company, allegedly for Rs 4200 crores while he had got it for Rs 1537 crore.After the hearing the two sides, the judge said that since the CBI has Raja in its custody, it may need to confront the former minister and Balwa as the accused may have divulged something during his interrogation.Balwa's arrest came two days ahead of the Supreme Court hearing the ongoing 2G spectrum case.Sources claimed that the CBI had some evidence through Income Tax department that Balwa, a known close aide of Raja, was instrumental in channeling alleged kickbacks received by the former telecom minister in the sale of 2G spectrum.The former Telecom Minister A Raja has been remanded to two more days of CBI custody by a court in New Delhi for further interrogation after the agency submitted that he was not divulging any "useful information" regarding his role in the 2G scam.

Special Judge O P Saini also sent former Telecom Secretary Siddartha Behura and Raja's former Personal Secretary R K Chandolia to Tihar Jail under judicial custody as the agency said it no longer needs them in its custody.
Raja will remain in CBI custody till 10th February.The trio, arrested by the agency on 2nd February for their alleged role in the 2G spectrum allocation scam, involving a loss of Rs 22,000 crore to the public exchequer as per the CVC estimates, were produced before the Special Judge following expiry of their five-day custody with the CBI.

After producing the trio before the court, the CBI sought four more days of custody to interrogate Raja saying that he was "not divulging any useful and crucial information" about his role in 2G spectrum scam.
"Some more documents are to be recovered and accused A Raja is to be confronted with them," senior CBI prosecutor Akhilesh submitted.
Refuting allegations by Raja's counsel Ramesh Gupta that the agency had not disclosed to the court the outcome of the probe conducted so far in this case, Akhilesh said, "The case diary has already been submitted to the court. Each and everything cannot be disclosed in the open courtroom."
Opposing CBI's demand for four more days of Raja's custody, Gupta said, "I am not having the custody of any document, which the CBI wants to recover from me."
"Whatever documents were there, they have already been seized by them in 2009 itself," he added.About Behura and Chandolia, the CBI counsel said the agency no longer needs their custody. "The two can be sent to Tihar Jail under judicial custody," he said.Media agencies

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