The special CBI court that today began trial in the 2G spectrum allocation case rejected a plea by former telecom minister Andimuthu Raja saying that he would prefer not to cross-examine prosecution witnesses until the Central Bureau of Investigation completes its probe into the affair, where Raja (in jail for the last seven months or more) is accused of selling spectrum at rock-bottom prices, and favouring select companies.
Raja made the plea minutes before special judge O P Saini commenced formal trial. "As soon as the investigation in this case, which started on 21 October 2009, is complete and all the statements as mandated in Section 244 of the Criminal Procedure Code are supplied to the applicant, the right to recall the witnesses for cross-examination will be exercised," Raja said in an application to the court.
Appearing for Raja, senior advocate Sushil Kumar told the court that the CBI has apprised the Supreme Court that their investigation in connection with Loop Telecom (one of the accused telecom companies) is going on.
Raja's counsel said the court should ask the agency if the investigation as far as all the 17 accused is complete. He said the investigation in the case is still ongoing, and only one first information report (FIR) has been registered by the CBI.
The court, however, dismissed Raja's plea and began recording the statement of the first prosecution witness - Anand Subramaniam, the assistant vice president of Reliance Capital Ltd.