2G: Court acquits Raja, Kanimozhi of charge of laundering Rs

New Delhi, Dec 21 (PTI) A special court today acquitted ex-telecom minister A Raja and DMK MP Kanimozhi of the charge of laundering Rs 200 crore bribe money in the 2G spectrum allocation case, citing absence of “proceeds of crime” as there was no scam.

Special judge O P Saini, who acquitted 17 accused, including Raja in the main CBI case by holding that there was no scam, trashed the offshoot matter pursued by the Enforcement Directorate (ED).

The court allowed 17 other accused, including DMK chief M Karunanidhi’s wife Dayalu Ammal, to walk free.

The ED had alleged that Rs 200 crore bribe money was paid by Swan Telecom (P) Ltd (STPL) promoters to DMK-run Kalaignar TV as illegal gratification in lieu of grant of 2G spectrum licences.

“In view of acquittal of accused in the case relating to scheduled offence (2G), there are no ‘proceeds of crime’.

Proceeds of crime is the foundational fact for the offence of money laundering. Since there are no proceeds of crime, there can be no offence of money laundering, as nothing remains to be laundered.

“Thus, the very base of the instant case is gone and the alleged offence stands wiped out,” the judge said.

Referring to the outcome of the main case, Saini said, “The very basic fact required for constitution of an offence of money laundering, that is, proceeds of crime, is knocked out.”

The court acquitted 10 persons and nine companies and directed that property worth Rs 223.55 crore of Dynamix Balwa (DB) group of companies and its associates, attached earlier by the ED during the probe, “be released to the persons from whom the same were attached, after the time for filing of appeal is over”.

Besides Raja, Kanimozhi and Ammal, those acquitted included directors of Kusegaon Fruits and Vegetables Pvt Ltd (KFVPL) Asif Balwa and Rajiv Agarwal, Kalaignar TV (KTV) directors Sharad Kumar and P Amirtham, Swan Telecom Pvt Ltd (STPL) promoters Shahid Usman Balwa and Vinod Goenka and Bollywood producer Karim Morani.

Besides ten persons, the court also let off KTV, STPL (now Etisalat DB Telecom Pvt Ltd), KFVPL, Cineyug Media & Entertainment Pvt Ltd, Dynamix Realty, Eversmile Construction Company Pvt Ltd, Conwood Construction & Developers Pvt Ltd, DB Realty Ltd and Mystical Construction Pvt Ltd (earlier known as Nihar Constructions Pvt Ltd).

The CBI had alleged that Raja and others, by abusing his official position, received illegal gratification of Rs 200 crore from STPL, which was an ineligible company, for granting UAS licences and allocating spectrum to it.

It had also alleged that the gratification was paid by DB group, belonging to Shahid Balwa and Vinod Goenka, also directors of STPL, and was parked in KTV under the cover of transfer of varying amounts of funds through agreements/MOU relating to equity participation/loan among a chain of inter linked companies.

After the CBI lodged an FIR, a case was registered by the ED under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act on March 9, 2010.

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