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Money laundering charges against Raja, others; trial from Nov 11


New Delhi, Oct 31 :

The special court hearing the 2G spectrum allocation case has framed charges of money laundering against former telecom minister A. Raja, his party colleague and DMK MP Kanimozhi and others, and fixed Nov 11 for commencing the trial.

Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Special Judge O.P. Saini framed the charges Friday. The accused have been booked under various sections dealing with the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002.

A Raja & Kanimozhi
A Raja & Kanimozhi

“I find that there is enough material on record to make out or to presume a prima facie case against each of the accused for committing an offence of money laundering,” the court said, going by the charge sheet filed by the Enforcement Directorate.

The charges are defined under Section 3 (Offence of Money Laundering) and punishable under Section 4 (Punishment of Money Laundering) of the Act, the court said. The court will also record witness statements as the accused pleaded not guilty and claimed trial.

Others charged include Shahid Usman Balwa and Vinod Goenka of Swan telecom, Asif Balwa and Rajiv Agarwal of Kusegaon Fruits and Vegetables, film producer Karim Morani, DMK chief M. Karunanidhi’s wife Dayalu Ammal and Kalaignar TV’s Sharad Kumar and P. Amirthan.

These companies, as also Cineyug Media and Entertainment, Kalaignar TV, Dynamix Realty, Eversmile Construction, Conwood Construction and Developers, DB Realty and Nihar Construction were also booked.

The directorate said it came to light that Rs.200 crore was paid by the promoters of Swan Telecom, using their group firm Dynamix Realty, to Kalaignar TV via Kusegaon and Cineyug in the garb of a legitimate financial transaction.

The accused tried to pass off the payment as a loan/share application money, it said.

The payment, the charge sheet said, was illegal gratification for, and on behalf of, Raja and his associates in lieu of illegal favours for Swan Telecom for the grant of telecom licence, the Enforcement Directorate contended.

It was noted that Raja, therefore, in connivance with Dayalu Ammal, Kanimozhi and Sharad Kumar, was actually involved in parking the illegal gratification received from Shahid Balwa and Vinod Goenka in Kalaignar TV.

Raja was also actually involved in the process of the refund of the proceeds of alleged crime of Rs.223.55 crore in order to wriggle out of the charges. Thus, he has committed the offence of money-laundering as defined under the act, the court noted.

The judge said the role of each accused had been narrated in the complaint, adding that there were factual and credible allegations against each of the accused.

“A complaint is like a plaint. Its contents are required to be proved by the complainant in the witness box,” the court said.

“These allegations do not require the support of earlier statements like a police charge sheet, which is, by and large, supported by statements,” the court said. “There are some statements as well as documents on the record in support of the allegations.”