New Delhi: Sanjay Chandra, Managing Director of Unitech Group who along with four other corporate honchos, is in jail in connection with 2G scam, on Monday claimed in the Delhi High Court that the policy of first-come-first serve (FCFS) policy had the backing of Prime Minister.

"So far as the formulation of policy is concerned, I am not the operative cause and the operative cause (for the FCFS policy) is the head of the government," noted criminal lawyer Ram Jethmalani, appearing for Chandra of Unitech Wireless (Tamil Nadu) Ltd, told Justice Ajit Bharihoke.

The appeal on which the CBI probe was ordered by the Supreme Court on the issue had alleged that instead of following the policy of auction, the DoT went ahead with the FCFS based on the 2001 price.

Citing from the speeches of the Prime Minister in Parliament and in a public function, Jethmalani said the head of the government had endorsed the FCFS policy for the grant of UAS licenses.

"The poor man, my client, did not persuade the Prime Minister to talk like this," Jethmalani said while arguing for bail for Chandra who, along with four other corporate bigwigs, has been arrested in connection with the scam.

Besides Chandra of Unitech, Swan Telecom Director Vinod Goenka and three top officials of Reliance ADA Group Gautam Doshi, Surendra Pipara and Hari Nair are in jail after their bail plea was dismissed by the special court on April 20.

Jethmalani rubbished CBI's plea that Chandra had entered into a criminal conspiracy with others, including former Telecom Minister A Raja and his personal secretary R K Chandolia and secured licenses for eight Unitech group companies.

"I have not made the kill but I have been killed. My case is on different footing as I did not sell a single share and, in fact, incurred loss around Rs 10,000 crore," he said. In response to the allegation that Unitech had got the demand draft of Rs 1658 crore ready as early as on October 10, 2007, he said "this shows that I am not an insider. If I had the prior knowledge about the alleged conspiracy, then I should not have lost at least Rs 50 crore as interest on entry fee."

Terming Unitech group MD as a "timid and nervous man", Jethmalani said the DD was prepared in advance as he was extra cautious.

The defence lawyer sought to discredit AK Srivastava, Deputy Director General of DoT and a key prosecution witness, saying "CBI is relying on the testimony of a person who could have been made an accused easily."

The court then deferred the hearing on the bail plea of other corporate honchos by May 5.
Jethmalani said Srivastava recorded his statements with CBI ten times during the investigation and there was every reason to "disbelieve" him as he was a "pardoned accomplice".

"The very first statement of Srivastava was recorded one year after the registration of the FIR on October 21, 2009, and this delay is sufficient to discredit his statement. The story he is making out is a totally false story," he said and cited various judgements to support his claim.

"So far as the fixation of the cut-off date for accepting applications is concerned, from where do I come in for the formulation of the policy which was monitored by the minister himself," he said.

The probe agency had alleged that the DoT refused accepting applications after the Unitech applied for the same.

Jethmalani said the lower court should have released Sanjay Chandra after he appeared before it.

Senior advocate and special prosecutor of CBI U U Lalit would advance rebuttal arguments.
CBI had said the fact that the accused were not arrested during the investigation does not entitle them for grant of bail.

Meanwhile, senior lawyer N K Kaul, appearing for Surendra Pipara of Reliance ADAG, said his client, who is suffering from serious kidney ailments, was not being taken to a private hospital despite the court's direction on the issue.

Besides corporate honchos, former Telecom Minister A Raja, Chandolia, former Telecom Secretary Siddhartha Behura, Swan Telecom promoter Shahid Usman Balwa are other accused in the case.

(Agencies)