ED, CBI disagree over letting 2G accused go abroad

  • Avantika Mehta, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Sep 17, 2014 01:56 IST

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) and CBI are at odds over whether to allow two people, accused in 2G spectrum allocation, to travel abroad.

The accused — Swan telecom promoter Shahid Balwa and Bollywood producer Karim Morani— had on September 10 filed an application requesting the court’s permission to travel abroad.

While Balwa wanted to go to London to drop off his son to college, Morani claimed he needed to travel to several countries including the US, the United Kingdom, Mexico, Belgium, Netherland and Dubai for work.

At that time, the senior public prosecutor for the CBI had “no objection” to the applications and, on this basis, Special Judge OP Saini had allowed Morani and Balwa to travel to their respective foreign destinations.

However, in an opposite move, enforcement directorate’s counsel NK Matta raised several objections against the applications, including that they were not supported by the requisite documentation, such as visas and hotel booking.

With regard to Morani, it was also argued that his specific presence was not required to complete the type of work he had listed he needed to travel for. Arguments on the matter were heard Tuesday, and the court reserved its order regarding the travel plans of the two.

The 2G spectrum scam involved corporations, politicians and government officials in India illegally undercharging mobile telephony companies for allocating 2G spectrum licenses for cell phones, leading to – according to the CAG — a shortfall of Rs 1,76,645 crore.

Balwa, one of the promoters of the DB Group, which owns DB realty and Swan telecom, was arrested in February 2011 on the allegation that DB group transferred Rs 2 billion to a media company owned by members of DMK party as gratuity for helping Swan bag licenses for 13 circles.

Cineyug’s Morani, considered one of the top producers in the Hindi film industry, was arrested on allegations that he channeled the kickbacks received by DMK for allocating the spectrum licenses to companies like Swan telecom.

The enforcement directorate had, in a case of money laundering arising from the 2G spectrum allocation scam, chargesheeted former telecom minister A Raja, Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam MP Kanimozhi, the Balwa brothers and five other accused.

Among the companies chargesheeted are Morani’s Cineyug and Balwa’s Swan telecom and DMK owned Kalaignar TV Pvt Limited.

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