A week after a special court began recording evidence, the 2G scam trial on Thursday hit a controversy with the defence accusing the CBI of pressuring witnesses and recording statements incorrectly.
High-profile politicians, including ex-telecom minister A Raja, DMK MP Kanimozhi, top bureaucrats and corporate honchos are among the 17 accused in the scam.
Acting on a plea filed by Swan Telecom director Vinod Goenka, an accused, special judge OP Saini asked CBI to respond to the allegations by November 23.
It comes a day after R-ADAG group president AN Sethuraman, a CBI witness in the case, objected to the manner in which his statement was recorded. Sethuraman told the court that he was called to the CBI office two days before the start of the trial to read his statement recorded by the agency earlier.
“I was not satisfied with contents of my statement and I protested to the (CBI) officer to change the content thereof relating to identification of signatures of Hari Nair (a R-ADAG official and accused in the case)".
“The statement recorded by CBI reads that I identified the signatures of Nair whereas I wanted it to be recorded as it appears to be the signature of Hari Nair,” he said. “The CBI is pressurising witnesses, tutoring on what to state on oath and after statement of Sethuraman it is clear they not recording what they stated on oath correctly,” said defence lawyers Vijay aggarwal and RN Mittal.
The defence has urged the court to restrain CBI from calling witnesses “unofficially” to its office and to summon the records of calls and SMSes between Sethuraman and the CBI official who summoned him “unauthorisedly”.
R-ADAG officials Hari Nair, Gautam Doshi and Surendra Pipara are accused of illegally using funds of Reliance telecom to create net worth for Swan Telecom which was ineligible for telecom licence.