Former Telecom Minister A Raja today claimed in a Delhi court that CBI investigating officer (IO) in the 2G spectrum scam had not fairly investigated the case and had "intimidated" certain witnesses to depose as per the agency's wishes.
However, Raja's claims were denied by the CBI's Deputy Superintendent of Police Rajesh Chahal, who was deposing as a prosecution witness in the case.
"It is wrong to suggest that I have not fairly investigated the case. It is wrong to suggest that I have deliberately withheld material evidence which had come in favour of accused persons," Chahal told Special CBI Judge O P Saini.
During his cross examination by senior advocate Ramesh Gupta, who appeared for Raja, Chahal refuted the suggestions of the former telecom minister that he along with senior officers of CBI had made a false case against the accused persons.
"It is further wrong to suggest that I had obeyed orders which were not even legal of my superior officers and assisted them in making a false case against the accused. "It is wrong to suggest that on the directions of my superior officers I intimidated certain witnesses and created a situation in which witnesses were forced to make involuntary statement," Chahal, whose recording of evidence would continue tomorrow, said.
He also denied Raja's suggestion that during the recording of statements of certain witnesses in the court, he continued to put pressure on them till they deposed as per the "wishes" of CBI.
The official told the court that he had arrested Raja in connection with the case "as per the decision of the senior officers of CBI." Raja, along with others, including DMK MP Kanimozhi, are facing trial for their alleged involvement in the 2G spectrum scam.
During the recording of the statement, Chahal denied that he and other CBI officers had intimidated A K Srivastava, a key witness in the case, "by creating an atmosphere of fear in his mind that if he did not support the CBI case, he would be made an accused in this case." "It is further wrong to suggest that he (Srivastava) succumbed to that pressure and toed our line," he said.
During the proceedings, Asif Balwa, one of the accused, moved an application saying the court may determine legality of some of the questions annexed with his application which were to be asked from Chahal during his cross-examination.
Asif said legality of these questions may be determined in advance so that it may be put to the witness as the CBI prosecutor interferes in the cross-examination on the ground of relevance and witness got the "hint".
The judge, however, dismissed his plea saying, "I may say that this is an open and fair trial and parties are entitled to the benefits of an open trial. When a question is put, the opposite party has every right to object to the same and it is for the court to decide whether the objection is to be sustained or not."
The court also observed that allegations levelled against the CBI prosecutor were "without any ground". "In view of the above discussion, application is without merit and deserves to be dismissed with cost, but I am not inclined to impose any cost in the hope that applicant would desist from filing such baseless applications in future," the judge said.