CBI on Monday opposed in a Delhi court the plea of Swan Telecom promoter Shahid Usman Balwa, facing trial in the 2G spectrum case, seeking exemption from personal appearance, saying the agency has got "information" that he has travelled abroad without prior permission.
The agency made this statement in the court when Balwa's counsel Vijay Aggarwal moved an application seeking exemption from personal appearance from September 2 to September 6 on grounds of "emergency".
CBI prosecutor K K Goel opposed the plea, saying that they have got some information "otherwise" about Balwa and the accused should honour the court. "I am opposing it (application). This should not be out and out. He (Balwa) should honour the court. We have heard otherwise so I am opposing it," Goel told Special CBI Judge O P Saini, adding that sanction for exemption should not be taken as "deemed".
The prosecutor initially argued that he does not want to "divulge" the information but later on he said CBI has got information that Balwa has travelled abroad. To this, Aggarwal argued that he has also heard some "rumour" regarding this and CBI "should not act on rumours".
He told the court that he has also come to know about "this rumour" that Balwa had gone abroad but it was not possible "as his passport is lying in the court". He also said that Balwa could not come to the court on Monday but he will appear before it tomorrow morning.
Balwa is facing trial in 2G case along with others including former Telecom Minister A Raja and was granted bail by the special court on November 29, 2011. The judge had imposed several conditions on him including that he will surrender his passport in the court and will not leave the country without its prior permission.
The court had said Balwa, who was arrested on February 8, 2011, should not remain absent from any proceedings related to the case without its prior permission and should also inform CBI about the same. During the arguments on Monday, the judge pulled up CBI for remaining "absent" from the court on August 31.
"Why you all (CBI and its prosecutors) remained absent on Saturday. One person should be here at least. Saturday is a working day, so at least one person should come," the judge said, adding that if the CBI prosecutor was present on Saturday, he could have decided on Balwa's plea.
At the fag end of arguments, Aggarwal told the court that he was withdrawing the plea on behalf of Balwa and his client would appear tomorrow and then he would argue on it. While giving bail to Balwa, the judge had granted liberty to CBI to move an application for modification or recalling the order "if for any reason, the petitioner (Balwa) violates any of the conditions imposed by this court or creates any condition which is not conducive to the holding of a fair trial."
Balwa is facing trial in the 2G case for allegedly procuring spectrum licence for his ineligible firm under a criminal conspiracy with Raja and other government officials and by paying a bribe of Rs 200 crore to DMK-run Kalaignar TV, showing the transaction as an inter-corporate loan.
Balwa, along with other accused, was charged with offences under section 120-B (criminal conspiracy) read with 409 (criminal breach of trust), 420 (cheating) 468 and 471 (forgery) of the Indian Penal Code and Section 7 or in alternative Section 11 read with Section 12 and 13(2) read with 13 (1b) of the Prevention of Corruption Act.
The judge had framed additional charges under Section 193 (giving false evidence) and 120B IPC against him for creating false documents to show alleged routing of Rs 200 crore to Kalaignar TV as loan transaction.