The accused, who appeared before the court in pursuance to the summons issued against them, moved their bail pleas which have been fixed for hearing on May 28.
DMK supremo M Karunanidhi’s wife Dayalu Ammal, also an accused in the case, did not appear before the court and her counsel moved a plea seeking exemption from personal appearance on the ground that she was not in a “fit mental condition”.
The court allowed Ammal’s plea for exemption from personal appearance for the day.Special CBI Judge O P Saini directed ED to supply all the documents related to the case to all the accused.
“Since the documents are voluminous, the accused submit that at least two days time is required for scrutiny. Put up for scrutiny of documents/consideration of bail applications on May 28,” the judge said.
Besides Raja and Kanimozhi, Swan Telecom promoters Shahid Usman Balwa and Vinod Goenka, Directors of Kusegaon Fruits and Vegetables Pvt Ltd Asif Balwa and Rajiv Aggarwal, Bollywood producer Karim Morani, Kalaignar TV Managing Director Sharad Kumar and P Amirtham also appeared before the court and moved their bail pleas.
They were also summoned as accused by the court which had taken cognisance of the ED’s charge sheet filed against 19 accused — 10 individuals and nine companies. The court has held that there was “enough incriminating material” on record to proceed against them.
ED has also named as accused Swan Telecom Pvt Ltd, Kusegaon Realty Pvt Ltd (formerly known as Kusegaon Fruits and Vegetables Pvt Ltd), Cineyug Media and Entertainment Pvt Ltd (formerly known as Cineyug Films Pvt Ltd), Kalaignar TV Pvt Ltd, Dynamix Realty, Eversmile Construction Company Pvt Ltd, Conwood Constructions and Developers (P) Ltd, DB Realty Ltd and Nihar Constructions Pvt Ltd. The representatives of the nine firms appeared before the court.
The money laundering case relates to the 2G scam in which the DMK-run Kalaignar TV was allegedly paid Rs 200 crore by the promoters of Swan Telecom.
ED has claimed that the transaction of Rs 200 crore, which was allegedly paid to DMK-run Kalaignar TV, was “not genuine” and it was a “bribe for grant of telecom licences to DB Group companies”.
During the hearing, the court told Ammal’s counsel to move a bail plea on May 28 and said it will be decided on merits.
The bail pleas filed by all other accused will also be heard on May 28, it said, adding that it will also hear arguments on framing of charges in the case on that day.
The counsel for the accused told the judge that they have not received any documents related to the case from ED.
To this, the court directed the ED prosecutor to supply all the documents and asked the accused to complete their scrutiny by May 28.
“Within two days, you complete the scrutiny of documents. Whatever papers are there, you will get every page,” the judge said.
During the arguments, the defence counsel requested the judge to defer the hearing to first week of July saying that they need some time to go through the documents.
The court, however, did not agreed to the submission, saying it was a Supreme Court-monitored trial and the apex court had given direction for day-to-day hearing.
ED had earlier told the court that its probe into the case emanates from the 2G scam and the accused had allegedly conspired and committed the scheduled offences under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
ED also alleged that being the then Telecom Minister, Raja had the principal role in the allotment of 2G licences and he had “assisted” in the offence of money laundering.
It said that Ammal was holding 60 per cent share in Kalaignar TV whereas co-accused Kanimozhi and Sharad Kumar had a stake of 20 per cent each.
ED also alleged there was a “reverse trail” of money from Kalaignar TV to Dynamix Realty through Cineyug Films Pvt Ltd (CFPL) and Kusegaon Fruits and Vegetables Pvt Ltd (KFVPL).
ED has claimed that the accused had attempted to show that these transactions were genuine although the reverse trail of money started when Raja was called by CBI for questioning in connection with the 2G spectrum allocation case.
In its charge sheet, ED has said that its investigation has revealed that the amount of Rs 200 crore was paid to Kalaignar TV by STPL in the “garb of legitimate financial transactions i.e. as loan/share application money”.
Raja, Kanimozhi, Shahid Balwa, Vinod Goenka, Asif Balwa, Rajiv Aggarwal, Karim Morani and Sharad Kumar are also facing trial in the 2G scam case in which CBI had earlier filed its charge sheets.