2G case: proceedings interrupted by striking lawyers

The ongoing 2G spectrum scam case trial in a Delhi court was disrupted today due to a day-long strike by district court lawyers opposing the Centre's proposal to establish an ombudsman of judges to hear complaints against advocates.

The striking advocates entered the courtroom of Special Judge O P Saini as soon as the day's proceeding began and requested various counsel not to attend the hearing to support the nation-wide protest by advocates to the Centre's move.

The court had begun recording of the statement of prosecution witness Desh Raj, an upper division clerk in BSNL corporate office here, but it was deferred on the lawyers' pleas to adjourn it. The court said the hearing in the case would resume on January 24.

"Inspector Sushil Kumar, lock-up in-charge (of Patiala House courts premises), who is present in court, has informed that on January 23, accused who are in custody shall not be produced in the court due to non-availability of police staff on account of Republic Day rehearsal arrangements.

"Accordingly, put up for further prosecution evidence on January 24...," the special judge said.

The court, however, allowed the exemption applications of Swan Telecom promoters Shahid Usman Balwa and Vinod Goenka, Kusegaon Fruits and Vegetables Pvt Ltd directors Asif Balwa and Rajeev Aggarwal, all accused in the case, for today.

Similarly, Reliance ADA Group executives Gautam Doshi, Surendra Pipara and Gautam Doshi, who are accused in the case, were also allowed exemptions from appearance in the court during the day.

The co-ordination committee of all bar associations of Delhi district courts called for strike today saying Bar Council of India (BCI) is already handling complaints against advocates and the Centre is trying to take away BCI's powers by setting up a parallel body of judges.

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