New Delhi, Aug 1: Jailed Swan Telecom promoter Shahid Usman Balwa, an accused in the 2G spectrum case, today accused CBI of adopting a “selective approach” in arresting people in the scam.
Balwa also asserted in a Delhi court that he was not finding fault with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who supported the “right policy”. He has been lodged in Tihar Jail since February 8.
“The Prime Minister had simply supported a policy that was entirely consonant with TRAI recommendations and the 10th five year plan, which talked of increasing tele-density, non-revision of prices and not to auction spectrum,” he said.
“We are not saying PM supported wrongdoers. He just supported the right policy,” Balwa added.
Targeting CBI, Balwa said, “You (CBI) have just picked up one man of your choice from one point and the other from another point. CBI is blowing up the case so that the court would be hesitant to consider liberty of a person even after months. It is guilty of misleading the court.
Balwa's arguments were put forth by his counsel Majeed Memon before Special CBI Judge O P Saini while opposing corruption and other penal charges against him in the 2G spectrum allocation case.
Balwa also accused CBI of withholding from the court some crucial documents pertaining to a personal discussion between the then Minister of External Affairs and the then Solicitor General on the allocation policy.
“There was a personal discussion between the then Minister of External Affairs (Pranab Mukherjee) and the Solicitor General (G E Vahanvati) on the allocation policy. CBI should place all the documents before this court.”
Seeking his discharge in the case from the court, Balwa demanded that CBI “must answer” as to what is the actual loss suffered by the state exchequer due to 2G spectrum scam.
“The CBI must answer as to what is the actual loss to the state exchequer. It (loss) is the basis of the prosecution and it has to be supported with documentation,” he said.
“It is surprising how out of various companies (which got licences for 22 circles) and persons, the CBI picked up A and B and left others. Why are they adopting the selective approach?,” Balwa asked, accusing CBI of conducting “a biased, selective and discriminatory approach” in the investigation.
He asserted that CBI's case is based upon the loss to the state exchequer but the government had stated in Parliament that no loss was suffered and instead the tele-density in the country had increased in 2010 from what it was in 2004.
CBI should have written a letter to the Prime Minister or the Finance Minister to know the actual loss to the exchequer due to the scam.
Balwa also asked CBI that if any loss has been suffered by the state exchequer then who exactly was responsible for it and up to what extent.
He also said the probe agency must answer whether Swan Telecom was ineligible to get Unified Access Services (UAS) licence in January 2008.
Balwa blamed media for what he said was “drawing a wrong picture to their detriment by saying that they are dragging PM into the controversy.”
“Media reports of dragging PM into the controversy by me (Balwa) or Raja is misinformative,” he said.
Balwa claimed that even Raja did not “find fault with the stand taken by the Prime Minister.”
“We (Shahid Balwa and A Raja) are not finding fault with the stand taken by the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh as being reported by the media,” he said.
“Raja always kept the highest office, that of the Prime Minister, informed about the issue,” writing letters to him on November 2, 2007 and December 26, 2007, Balwa said, adding “the same were deliberated upon by the PM.”
“Because of all this, the Opposition tomorrow might say in Parliament that the PM is supporting a man who is in jail. Today there is noise that PM should resign in wake of this scam. Why should the PM, whom we hold in such high esteem, should suffer?,” Balwa said.
Balwa also asked the CBI to explain as to why former Telecom Minister A Raja is in jail if ministers belonging to the BJP or NDA government are not in jail despite evolving and following the same policy that Raja had pursued. Without naming anyone, Memon submitted that Balwa is paying the price because of business rivalry.
“I (Balwa) am a successful businessman and thus I am paying the price because of my business rivals. There is a feeling of vengeance (in my business rivals) as I am a threat to my competitors,” he said.
The CBI chargesheet has alleged that a bribe money of Rs 200 crore had been channelised from Balwa's DB Realty to DMK-run Kalaignar TV through a “circuitous route” via Cineyug Films and Kusegaon Fruits and Vegetables Pvt Ltd for grant of licence to Balwa's Swan Telecom Promoter.
The agency, in its first chargesheet, has alleged that Balwa along with other co-accused in the case entered into a conspiracy for manipulating the procedure for allocation of spectrum with the aim of favouring companies like Swan Telecom and Unitech Group. PTI