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2G: Court Allows Raja To Depose As Defence Witness

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A special court allowed former Telecom Minister A Raja's plea seeking to depose as a witness to defend himself in the ongoing trial in the 2G spectrum scam case.

Special CBI Judge O P Saini allowed Raja's plea after the CBI did not oppose it and fixed the matter for July 1 for commencement of recording of defence evidence in the case.

"The accused (Raja) wishes to examine himself as a witness in his own defence and the application has been filed under his own signature. Not opposed. Allowed. The accused is at liberty to examine himself as a witness in his own defence," the judge said.

"Accused A Raja shall ensure that either he himself is ready for his examination as a witness, as prayed by him, or some other witness is present on his behalf on July 1," it said.

Raja had moved an application for summoning defence witnesses in the case saying, "The applicant (Raja) wishes to examine himself as a witness in the present trial."

The court also allowed the pleas filed by former Telecom Secretary Siddhartha Behura, Unitech Ltd MD Sanjay Chandra, Reliance ADAG executives Surendra Pipara and Hari Nair, Bollywood producer Karim Morani, Kalaignar TV MD Sharad Kumar and accused firm Unitech Wireless (Tamil Nadu) Pvt Ltd seeking to summon some witnesses in their defence in the case.

"Prosecution has no objection to the summoning of the witnesses as requested by these accused. I also find that the list submitted by these accused is quite reasonable, Accordingly, their prayer is allowed," the judge said.

"These accused are directed to ensure that their witnesses are present in court in the first or second week of July 2014," the court said.

Besides these accused, DMK MP Kanimozhi, Reliance ADAG executive Gautam Doshi, Swan Telecom promoter Vinod Goenka, Reliance Telecom Ltd and Swan Telecom Pvt Ltd had said they do not wish to lead any evidence in their defence.

"Put up for defence evidence on July 1, 2014" the court said, adding that recording of statements of the accused under section 313 of the CrPC stands completed.

Raja is facing trial in the 2G case along with Kanimozhi, Behura, Raja's erstwhile private secretary R K Chandolia, Swan Telecom promoters Shahid Usman Balwa and Vinod Goenka, Sanjay Chandra and Reliance ADAG executives Gautam Doshi, Surendra Pipara and Hari Nair.

Directors of Kusegaon Fruits and Vegetables Pvt Ltd, Asif Balwa and Rajiv Agarwal, Sharad Kumar and Karim Morani are also accused in the case.

Besides these 14 accused, three telecom firms Swan Telecom Pvt Ltd, Reliance Telecom Ltd and Unitech Wireless (Tamil Nadu) Pvt Ltd are also facing trial in the case.

The court had on October 22, 2011 framed charges against them under various provisions of the IPC and the Prevention of Corruption Act dealing with offences of criminal conspiracy, cheating, forgery, faking documents, abusing official position, criminal misconduct by public servant and taking bribe.

The offences entail punishment ranging from six months in jail to life imprisonment.