In a big setback to the 2G Scam-accused persons and Corporates, the Delhi High Court on Tuesday ordered for a daily hearing in the case from October 5 in the appeal filed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and Enforcement Directorate (ED). Ordering for daily hearing, Justice Brijesh Sethi said that he is duty-bound to finish the hearing in the case before his retirement day November 30. The CBI and ED filed petition for a speedy hearing in the previous month and the accused persons objected vehemently citing many frivolous reasons. Now the High Court will hear three cases – one each by CBI and ED in the main 2G scam and another the case against Essar Group for managing telecom license through a Benami firm Loop – on a daily basis from October 5 and the judgments are expected to be handed down by November 30, the day of retirement of Justice Brijesh Sethi.
Expressing displeasure at the advocates of 2G accused, repeated arguments asking why the Court is speeding up the case, citing delaying in other cases, Justice Brijesh Sethi said in the Order: “It is appreciable that learned counsels are not only concerned with their own cases but are also concerned about the disposal of other pending cases in which accused are in jail. This court is conscious of its duty to hear those cases as well.
Telecom operators Shahid Balwa, Vinod Goenka, Essar Group’s Ravi Kant Ruia, and Anil Ambani’s Reliance Group’s officers are the other accused in the case. DMK Supremo Karunanidhi’s wife Dayalu Ammal is also an accused in the case.
“It is good on the part of the learned counsels for the respondents to apprise this Court that how it should proceed with the cases pending in the court but let the learned counsels be also reminded of the fact that they being the officers of this Court, should assist in part-heard cases so that these are not left undecided and need not be heard afresh by a new Bench, thus, causing unnecessary loss to the public exchequer and wastage of judicial time. It is reiterated that this Court is conscious of its duty and welcomes the suggestions given by the learned counsels but at the same time, is of the opinion that it is in the interest of the administration of justice that so far as possible, this Court should make all endeavours to conclude the part-heard matters before it demits the office.” CBI and ED were represented by Additional Solicitor General Sanjay Jain.
Former Telecom Minister and DMK MP A Raja and DMK MP Kanimozhi are the main accused in the 2G Scam case. Telecom operators Shahid Balwa, Vinod Goenka, Essar Group’s Ravi Kant Ruia, and Anil Ambani’s Reliance Group’s officers are the other accused in the case. DMK Supremo Karunanidhi’s wife Dayalu Ammal is also an accused in the case.
The details of the 2G Scam were reported earlier in an article by PGurus. However, all the accused persons were acquitted by the trial court in December 2017. CBI and ED in their appeal cited blatant gross errors in the judgment delivered by trial Judge O P Saini. The agencies filed an appeal in Delhi High Court in March 2018 and at one point the High Court had penalized the accused for delaying the case and ordered for planting more than 16,000 trees in February 2019. October 2019 onwards, the High Court was regularly hearing the case with 4-5 hearings per month till March 20, 2020. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the courts were shut down for a long time and the agencies have petitioned for the need of the speedy hearing citing the Judge’s retirement and the huge public interest in the 2G case.