“I hope you’re all pleading guilty,” he said in open court. However, all the accused said they pleaded not guilty. The trial will be held on November 11, and the court will begin by examining the complainant and ED’s joint director Himanshu Kumar Lal.
The agency had on April 25 filed its charge sheet which accused 10 individuals and nine companies of being in “connivance” with each other to “park” illegal gratification of Rs. 223.55 crore in Kalaignar TV.
The gratification was received from the promoters of DB Realty Group and Swan Telecom Shahid Balwa and Vinod K Goenka. It was given to A Raja and MK Dayalu, K Kanimozhi and Sharad Kumar through various companies as a “bribe for grant of telecom licences to DB Group companies”.
In its 208-page order, the court noted that Raja was “actually involved in the process of refund of the proceeds of crime of Rs. 223.55 crore in order to wriggle out of the charges of crime”. The whole amount was “proceeds of crime,” it added.
Senior DMK leaders in Chennai declined comment on the fresh development beyond saying, “We will fight the issue legally.”
Besides Raja, Kanimozhi and Dayalu Ammal, the individual co-accused in the case are Shahid Balwa, Vinod Goenka, directors of Kusegaon Fruits and Vegetables Pvt Ltd Asif Balwa and Rajiv Agarwal, Kalaignar TV (KTV) MD Sharad Kumar, its director P Amirtham and Bollywood producer Karim Morani.
The court also framed charges against the nine accused firms including Swan Telecom and Kalaignar TV. It observed that the allegations of money laundering and bribery against the accused were “factual and credible”.