CBI seeks time on Essar’s plea for joint trial with Raja in 2G scam

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ESSARNew Delhi, August 2;CBI on Friday sought more time in a Delhi court for filing its response to a plea by Essar Teleholdings Ltd (ETHL) seeking joint trial with former Telecom Minister A. Raja and others in a case arising out of the probe into the 2G spectrum scam.

The probe agency, which was on Thursday scheduled to file its reply on the plea, told the court it needed some time to respond in the matter in which ETHL has sought joint trial citing a recent Supreme Court holding them as co-accused in the case.

Special CBI Judge O.P. Saini, who was to hear the arguments on the plea on Friday, has posted the matter to August 12. “Put up for final reply, if any, and arguments on August 12,” the judge said.

Besides ETHL, private firm director Rajiv Agarwal, who is facing trial in the 2G case along with Raja and 15 others, had moved a similar plea and the judge would now hear arguments on both petitions on August 12.

ETHL, in its plea, had said that since they have been treated as “co-accused” by the apex court, a separate trial would constitute “breach of directions of SC” and there was also a possibility that evidence being recorded in Raja’s case might be used against it.

“(ETHL) is bringing the new position of the CBI, accepted by SC, to the notice of this court so that appropriate directions (can) be issued to rectify the defect that has crept in… and to conduct both trials as one,” it said.

It also said that the agency had never told the trial court that they should be tried together with Raja and others due to which “independent trials are being conducted.”

The apex court, on July 1 this year, had dismissed the plea of ETHL and Loop Telecom that they along with their promoters cannot be tried in the case arising out of 2G scam by the special CBI court as they have not been charged under the Prevention of Corruption Act.

The bench, while dismissing their plea, had referred Section 220 (trial for more than one offence) and Section 223 of CrPC (persons charged jointly), saying that the petitioners were co-accused in the said 2G scam case and may be charged and can be tried together with the other accused.

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