New Delhi, October 15: Former telecom secretary Siddharth Behura and director of Kusegaon Fruits and Vegetables Rajiv Agarwal, who were acquitted in the 2G case, moved the Delhi High Court against the CBI plea challenging trial court’s decision to acquit all the accused in the scam, saying the Centre’s approval was not taken by the agency before filing the appeal.

The petitions on behalf of Behura and Agarwal were listed on Thursday before Justice Navin Chawla who said the matter should be heard by the judge who is already hearing the appeals by the CBI and Enforcement Directorate (ED), news agency PTI reported.

The court directed the registry to list the two petitions before Justice Brijesh Sethi, who is hearing the appeals, on October 19 subject to the decision of the Chief Justice of the Delhi High Court.

During the brief hearing, Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Sanjay Jain told Justice Chawla that the same issue was raised by the petitioners’ counsel — Vijay Aggarwal — before the other judge.

However, Aggarwal disputed the contention saying that before the other court he had only moved an application seeking the documents which show that prior approval was granted to the agency to file the appeal.

He further argued that the CBI had contended before Justice Sethi that whether prior approval was granted or not can only be raised before a writ court and that is why his clients filed the instant petitions.

He said that he had told the court of Justice Sethi that he would be raising the issue of prior approval in a writ petition and therefore, he has not concealed any information or detail.

Aggarwal requested Justice Chawla that the instant petitions be transferred to the court of Justice Sethi.

Taking note of his request, the court directed that the petitions be listed before the court of Justice Sethi on October 19.

In their petitions, Behura and Agarwal have contended that the agency “has not placed on record the copies of the complete record of the due process to be complied as per CBI manual including report of public prosecutor and Director of Prosecution submitted to the central government for mandatory approval to file appeal against acquittal and not placed any direction of either Solicitor General Tushar Mehta or CBI counsel Sanjiv Bhandari to prefer leave to appeal/appeal”.

They have contended that in the alleged absence of such documents, any prior approval granted by the central government would be without application of mind.

Before Justice Sethi, CBI has argued that the trial court verdict acquitting all accused including former telecom minister A Raja in the 2G spectrum allocation cases was decided to be challenged as an opinion was received that “it is a fit case to prefer an appeal”.

The agency said that the opinion was received from the Ministry of Law and Justice which examined the proposal of the probe agency to file a criminal appeal.

The CBI said that it was apprised through a letter by the Department of Personnel and Training in January 2018 that the law and justice ministry opined that “it is a fit case to prefer an appeal”.

The submissions were made and related documents were shown to that court by CBI in response to an application by Kusegaon Fruits and Vegetables Pvt Ltd promoter Asif Balwa seeking a copy of the sanction letter of the central government to the CBI to file an appeal against the acquittal of the accused in the case.

The high court has commenced day-to-day hearing on CBI’s ‘leave to appeal’ against the acquittal of all the individuals and firms. After finishing submissions in the CBI case, the high court will take up the ED’s money laundering case in which also all the accused were acquitted by the special court.

Leave to appeal is a formal permission granted by a court to a party to challenge a decision in a higher court.

A special court had on December 21, 2017 acquitted Raja, DMK MP Kanimozhi and others in the CBI and the ED cases related to the scam.

Besides Raja and Kanimozhi, the special court had acquitted Behura; Raja’s erstwhile private secretary R K Chandolia; Unitech Ltd MD Sanjay Chandra and three top executives of Reliance Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group (RADAG) — Gautam Doshi, Surendra Pipara and Hari Nair, in the 2G case filed by the CBI.

Swan Telecom promoters Shahid Balwa and Vinod Goenka, Asif Balwa and Rajiv Agarwal were also acquitted in the CBI case.

The special court had also acquitted Swan Telecom (P) Ltd; Unitech Wireless (Tamil Nadu) Ltd; Reliance Telecom Ltd; film producer Karim Morani and Director of Kalaignar TV Sharad Kumar in the CBI case.

In March 2018, the ED and CBI had approached the high court challenging the special court’s order acquitting all the accused.

https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/politics-and-nation/behura-agarwal-move-hc-claiming-lack-of-prior-approval-by-centre-for-cbi-appeal-in-2g-case/articleshow/78685021.cms

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