Raja, Kanimozhi to face trial in PMLA case from Nov 17

Raja, Kanimozhi to face trial in PMLA case from Nov 17

Former Telecom Minister A Raja, DMK MP Kanimozhi, DMK supremo M Karunanidhi's wife Dayalu Ammal and 16 others will face trial in a 2G scam case related to money laundering from November 17 when a Delhi court will start recording evidence.

Special CBI Judge O P Saini,who had earlier fixed November 11 for recording statements of prosecution witnesses, now put up the matter for November 17 after the counsel for both the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and the accused sought adjournment citing several reasons.

"Considering the submissions of both parties and the nature of the case, with deep reluctance, I am inclined to allow the prayer. Accordingly, prayer for adjournment is allowed.

"Put up the matter for recording of prosecution evidence on November 17, 2014, as prayed by both parties. The date of November 11, 2014, as already fixed, stands cancelled," the judge said.

The matter was taken up during the day when Special Public Prosecutor Anand Grover and advocate N K Matta told the court that complainant Himanshu Kumar Lal, an ED officer, was scheduled to be examined as first prosecution witness on November 11 but due to some other serious PMLA case, he has to go to Australia from November 11 to 13.

The prosecutor said it would be very difficult for him to examine complainant as a first witness in the case and no other witness is available for examination from November 11- November 13 and said the matter be adjourned for November 17.

Similarly, the counsel for the 19 accused also sought adjournment on the ground that considering the voluminous record of the case, they were not ready for cross­examination.

On October 31, the court had put on trial Raja, Kanimozhi, Dayalu and 16 others on money laundering charges. Charges were framed against 19 accused -- 10 individuals and nine companies -- under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).

All the accused had pleaded not guilty and said that they will go for trial on charges against them.

During the day, the defence counsel sought some time to go through the record and the order on charge and to explore the possibility of approaching superior courts against the October 31 order.

Charges have been framed against Raja by the court for "conniving" with Kanimozhi, Dayalu Ammal and other co-accused in "parking" illegal gratification of Rs 200 crore in Kalaignar TV.

If convicted, Raja and others will face a maximum sentence of upto seven years.
This is the second case in the 2G spectrum allocation scam in which Raja, Kanimozhi and others, including Swan Telecom promoters Shahid Usman Balwa and Vinod Goenka, will face trial for their alleged involvement in the scam.

The court had said there was enough material on record which made out a "prima facie" case against all the accused who were chargesheeted by ED on April 25, for committing an offence punishable under the PMLA.

Besides Raja, Kanimozhi and Dayalu, the individual co-accused in the case are Swan Telecom Promoters Shahid Balwa and Vinod Goenka, Directors of Kusegaon Fruits and Vegetables Pvt Ltd Asif Balwa and Rajiv Agarwal, Kalaignar TV (KTV) MD Sharad Kumar and its Director P Amirtham and Bollywood producer Karim Morani. All of them are out on bail.

The court also framed charges against the nine accused firms -- Swan Telecom Pvt Ltd (STPL), Kusegaon Realty Pvt Ltd (formerly known as Kusegaon Fruits and Vegetables Pvt Ltd), Cineyug Media and Entertainment Pvt Ltd (formerly known as Cineyug Films Pvt Ltd), Kalaignar TV Pvt Ltd, Dynamix Realty, Eversmile Construction Company Pvt Ltd, Conwood Constructions and Developers (P) Ltd, DB Realty Ltd and Nihar Constructions Pvt Ltd.

ED, in its charge sheet, had alleged that all the accused were involved in the Rs 200-crore money transaction which was "not bonafide" and it was a "bribe for grant of telecom licences to DB Group companies" by Raja.

The court had also noted that the accused tried to project the "tainted money as untainted" and gave it a "colour" of regular business transactions with the intent to conceal its true nature.

The court, in its order, had said entire amount to the tune of Rs 223.55 crore was in fact the "proceeds of crime".

In the first case probed by the CBI, Raja, Kanimozhi, Shahid Balwa, Goenka, Asif Balwa, Rajiv Agarwal, Morani and Sharad Kumar, along with others, are facing trial for criminal breach of trust, conspiracy, forgery, cheating and other offences punishable under the provisions of the IPC and Prevention of Corruption Act.
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