New Delhi: After a month of protest against commencement of trial, former Telecom Minister A Raja on Thursday opened his defence with the cross-examination of key CBI witness Aseervatham Achary, who was his former additional private secretary.

Raja called off his protest in the wake of CBI filing its third charge sheet on December 12 against Essar and Loop and their promoters.

Achary's cross-examination was disrupted for a while after he told the judge about threat to his life from a man sitting in the courtroom. The man left the courtroom but was nabbed by Delhi Police sleuths from the court premises and produced before the judge and handed over to police.

At the very beginning of the trial which commenced on November 11, Raja told Special CBI Judge O P Saini, who is hearing the case, that he would not cross examine witnesses until CBI files its third charge sheet and makes a statement that its probe in the case was complete.

During the one-and-half month of trial in the case, six witnesses have already deposed and the cross-examination of Raja's ex-aide Achary is underway.

Achary, a prime witness in the case, had in his deposition accused Raja and others of being involved in the 2G scam and went on to state Raja's alleged long association with corporate honchos accused in the scam since his stint as environment minister in 2005.

Key 2G scam witness claims threat to life, man detained

 A special CBI court trying 2G case on Thursday witnessed high drama when a key witness said he has received a threat from a person who was present in the court and was immediately arrested.

During the proceedings, Asservartham Achary, ex-aide of former Telecom Minister and an accused in the case A Raja, told Special CBI Judge O P Saini that the person who is threatening him is present in the court.

As he made the complaint, the person later identified as Jaiprakash, ran away but was nabbed by the police posted outside the court room.

The police then produced the man, who is in mid 30's, before the court which queried him about his presence.

On seeing him, Achary told the judge that he had not met the man earlier but his PSO had told him in the morning that he was the same person who had came to his house earlier to meet him.

On his part, the man identified as Jaiprakash told the court that he brings food and water for some of the accused in the case.

But the court was not satisfied and handed him over to police to interrogate him.

Achary, who has been given security by Delhi Police after he complained to CBI on the alleged threat, told the court that the person who was threatening him was sitting with Raja's former private secretary R K Chandolia since morning and just left the court room.

He further said that he and his family members are being threatened since August 6 and he informed about it to the CBI in September after which he has been given a Personal Security Officer (PSO) by the city police.

(Agencies)