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Wednesday, March 21, 2012 8:54:23 AM (IST)  

2G Scam: Balwa Objects to Judge's Intervention

New Delhi, Mar 21 (IANS): Swan telecom promoter and 2G scam accused Shahid Usman Balwa and his lawyer Tuesday objected to the special CBI court judge's interventions during cross examination of witnesses in the case.

Balwa and his lawyer R.N. Mittal said Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) special judge O.P. Saini is humiliating them by giving more importance to the witnesses.

They added that the atmosphere during cross-examination was created to support the prosecution's case.

The submission of Balwa and his counsel came when the judge asked for the time required for the cross-examination of Telecom Regulatory Authority of India's former chairman Nripendra Mishra.

Balwa said: "As an accused I have a right to defend myself. If you don't allow us to defend ourself, you please pass the sentence against us. I am ready to face the sentence."

Other accused and lawyers supported his submission and former telecom minister and prime accused A. Raja also intervened in the matter.

Balwa with Mittal later apologised to the judge, telling him that they did not intend to displease the court but to draw its attention for conducting a fair trial.

The CBI alleged that Raja allotted the second generation (2G) radiowaves in an arbitrary manner and caused a huge loss to the government exchequer.

According to the government auditor, the 2G scam, allegedly masterminded by Raja, pertained to a biased distribution of mobile airwaves and operating licences, in lieu of kickbacks, to telecom firms that could have cost the treasury up to Rs.1.76 lakh crore in lost revenue.

Nineteen individuals and six companies are accused in the case. Except for Raja and former telecom secretary Siddharth Behura, all other arrested accused have been released on bail.

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