Can't allow fresh CBI witnesses in 2G, Reliance Telecom tells SC

New Delhi, July 29 (IANS) Reliance Telecom Monday told the Supreme Court that the trial court for 2G cases could not have given a nod to the CBI to line up fresh witnesses to cover up the lacunae in its case thereby sending for a toss more than two years of proceedings held so far.

"This is nothing more than a helping hand that 2G court has given to the prosecution which has done a shoddy job," senior counsel Mukul Rohatgi told the apex court bench of Justice G.S. Singhvi and Justice K.S. Radhakrishnan.

A parallel investigation was going in the trial's final leg, Rohatgi told the apex court saying that the "rights of the accused are paramount. My right under Article 21 of the constitution is much higher than that of the prosecution".

Describing CBI's application before the 2G trial court for calling 17 fresh witnesses as nothing but a "subterfuge", where investigating agency was "groping in the dark" and "fishing for something", he told the court that out of 160 odd witnesses 140 had already been examined.

Rohatgi assailed the trial court order of July 19 wherein it said that if it did not allow the CBI to field fresh witnesses then its earlier order of Dec 19, 2012 would be negated. The trial court Dec 19, 2012 had permitted the probe agency to put on record more documents.

Appearing for Reliance Telecom, Rohatgi told the apex court that the trial judge could not give the prosecuting agency repeated opportunities to establish its case which, in its own admission, it had not been able to do even after presenting 140 witnesses.

The senior counsel told the court that the petition before the court was by Reliance Telecom which is an accused and not by Anil Ambani as was being portrayed by a section of media.

He told the court that Ambani had "made a detailed statement under Section 161. They were aware of it and did not call him then. There can't be parallel investigations when trial is going on".

As Rohatgi sought to question the April 11, 2011, order of the apex court holding that all the appeals against the order of 2G court would lie before it alone, Justice Singhvi said that "if there is an application for the recall of April 11, 2011 order we are bound to hear it".

The April 11, 2011 order came in for a scathing attack by senior counsel Ram Jethamalani, who appeared for co-accused Asif Balwa.

By the said order, the apex court barred all other appeal courts from entertaining any challenge to the 2G court's order.

As arguments were inconclusive, the court adjourned the hearing directing the matter to be listed Aug 1.

Rohatgi told the court that he would file an application seeking the recall of April 11, 2011 apex court order mandating that all appeals against the 2G trial court orders could be agitated before it alone.

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