Home > News > Kani, Raja challenge pleas for early hearing of 2G appeals | India News

Kani, Raja challenge pleas for early hearing of 2G appeals | India News


NEW DELHI: Citing practical challenges posed by the pandemic, former Union telecom minister A Raja, DMK MP Kanimozhi and Swan Telecom promoter Shahid Balwa on Monday opposed the CBI and the Enforcement Directorate’s pleas to fast-track hearing of appeals challenging the acquittal of individuals and firms in the 2G spectrum case.
Lawyers representing the trio in the Delhi high court questioned why the CBI and ED had sought out-of-turn hearings despite restrictions forced by Covid-19, including the lack of regular legal assistance and the difficulties in going through voluminous documents pertaining to the case.
Both CBI and ED are pressing for a verdict before the scheduled retirement of the presiding judge, Justice Brijesh Sethi, in November. Advocate Manu Sharma, who had defended Raja during the 2G trial, submitted that a sequence was being followed by the high court, giving priority to cases involving people already in jail. Appeals against acquittals are always kept last in the order of matters, he argued.
“Throughout the Covid period, the HC has issued circulars to only list urgent matters. This case being a voluminous one, involving complicated questions of fact, must be taken up when physical hearings resume,” Sharma said.
Advocate Vijay Aggarwal, representing Balwa and others, pointed out that the case files being “bulky”, nobody would be able to do justice to the appeals, if taken up through virtual hearings. Additional solicitor general Sanjay Jain argued for an early virtual hearing on the ground that the country’s “largest trial” was being conducted at considerable cost to the exchequer and it needed to be brought to its logical conclusion soon.
Justice Sethi noted that since no evidence was required to be collected and only oral submissions were required to be made, the proceedings could take place through video-conferencing. The court will hear arguments on this aspect on Tuesday. The appeals filed by the CBI and ED were originally listed for hearing on October 12. The additional solicitor general contended that whenever an early hearing application is filed, the matter is primarily between the applicant and court. The respondents have little say in it, he said. Advocate Tarannum Cheema, appearing for Kanimozhi, said no cogent reasons had been given by the agencies for seeking an early hearing and that their pleas were only “a counter blast” to the applications filed by certain accused, asking for release of their attached properties.

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