Essar Teleholdings Limited, facing trial in a case arising out of the probe into the 2G spectrum scam, today moved a special CBI court seeking joint trial with former Telecom Minister A Raja and others in pursuance to the Supreme Court's order holding them as co-accused in the case.
The firm also said that since they have been treated as "co-accused" by the apex court in its recent order, a separate trial would constitute "breach of directions of the apex court" and there is also a possibility that evidence being recorded in Raja's case may be used against it.
"The applicant (ETHL) is bringing the new position of the CBI, accepted by the Supreme Court, to the notice of this court so that appropriate directions be issued to rectify the defect that has crept in the past and to conduct both the trials as one trial," it said.
"As a result of the acceptance of the stand of the CBI by the Supreme Court, a piquant situation has arisen," it said, adding 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."
"This new stand of the CBI having been accepted, this situation would require to be remedied," it said. The apex court, on July 1 this year, had dismissed the plea of Essar Teleholdings Ltd (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 to 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.
Senior advocate Harish Salve today filed the application before Special CBI Judge O P Saini, who asked the agency to file its response by August 1.
Essar group promoters Ravi Ruia and Anshuman Ruia and Loop Telecom promoters I P Khaitan and Kiran Khaitan, Essar group Director(Strategy and Planning) Vikash Saraf, along with three companies ETHL, Loop Telecom Pvt Ltd and Loop Mobile India Ltd are facing trial in the case.
ETHL, in its plea, said, "Issue appropriate directions to ensure that proceedings ....are assimilated into one trial and for this purpose issue appropriate directions to rectify the situation as to the past and for further proceedings, direct that the trial being...is conducted in conformity with section 220 with 223 CrPC".
It referred to the Supreme Court's order saying they are "co-accused" along with those who have been charged under the provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act and section 220 CrPC "envisages a composite trial in which all the accused are tried together and the entire evidence received in the matter can be used against any of the accused".
It also said that CBI had argued in the apex court that their final report, in which ETHL and others were named, was a "supplementary charge sheet relating to the 2G scam cases". It said if the CBI's stance was known to them at the stage of framing of charges, they would have challenged the legality of the charge sheet itself and the court should now consider the matter afresh from the stage of filing of the final report and frame fresh charges. ETHL and others are facing trial for the offence under section 120 B (criminal conspiracy) read with section 420 (cheating) of IPC, while substantial charge of cheating was framed against Saraf.
Raja along with 16 others including DMK MP Kanimozhi are facing trial in the 2G case for various offences punishable under the IPC and the Prevention of Corruption Act.