New Delhi: Citing correspondence between former Telecom Minister A Raja and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Swan Telecom Promoter Shahid Usman Balwa told a Delhi court on Wednesday that the CBI should have named the Prime Minister as one of the witnesses in 2G spectrum scam. Balwa has been chargesheeted in the 2G spectrum scam.

"CBI is producing letters of Raja and the Prime Minister as evidence. They (CBI) should have made the Prime Minister a witness in the case," Advocate Majid Memon, appearing for Balwa, told Special CBI Judge O P Saini while arguing his bail plea.

Memon along with advocate Vijay Agrawal said the CBI has produced letters written by Raja to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh as evidence in the case.

Memon said Raja was in touch with the Prime Minister and he regularly apprised him (PM) of the development in the department (DoT).

They said the agency, in its first chargesheet, has said Raja misled the Prime Minister but instead of CBI, the PM should tell this. "CBI is saying Raja misled the PM. If it is so, then it should be the PM who should say this, not the CBI," Agrawal said.

During the arguments, Memon also pointed out to the letters written by Raja to the Prime Minister on November 2, 2007 and the subsequent letters to Raja from the Prime Minister.

He said when Swan Telecom applied for the licenses, neither Raja was the Telecom Minister nor his Personal Secretary R K Chandolia who has been named as an accused in the chargesheet was there.

Pressing for Balwa's bail, Memon said the offence under which his client has been charged does not fall under the category of grave offences punishable upto life imprisonment or death penalty.

Memon told the court that Balwa was ready to abide by the conditions imposed on him by the court if he was granted bail. He was ready to even deposit his shares in the court.

The court, however, adjourned the matter for further hearing on May 3 after CBI prosecutor A K Singh sought some time to respond.

Money in 2G scam flabbergasting: SC

Meanwhile, in another development the Supreme Court termed the amount of money transaction in 2G scam as "flabbergasting".

The scam, which, according to CAG estimates runs into Rs 1.76 lakh crore, left a bench of Justices G S Singhvi and A K Ganguly astonished as they perused the report of Enforcement Directorate giving details of illegal transaction of thousands of crore by the errant telcos.

"We are not familiar with such figures," the bench said, adding that investigating officers who are probing the case must also be surprised with the amount involved in the scam.

Give Radia tapes to CBI, ED: SC to I-T Dept

The Apex Court also directed the Income Tax department to provide a transcript of taped conversations of corporate lobbyist Neera Radia with corporate honchos, politicians and bureaucrats to CBI and ED which are probing the 2G scam case.

The double bench passed the order after CBI complained that the I-T has not provided the transcript of 5000-hour taped conversations.

As the bench was dictating the order for CBI, Enforcement Directorate also submitted it should also be given the transcript.

Transcripts of some of these tapes have already been published by various magazines, which had stirred a controversy, and Tata Group Chairman Ratan Tata had approached the Apex Court to bar the media from airing his telephonic conversations with the corporate lobbyist.

ED to attach properties of errant telecos

In another development, the Enforcement Directorate told the Supreme Court that property worth Rs 2,000 crore each will be attached against two companies which are involved in the 2G spectrum scam during the tenure of former Telecom Minister A Raja.

"Property worth Rs 2,000 crore has to be attached relating to these companies," senior advocate K K Venugopal, appearing for the ED, submitted before the double bench.

Venugopal, who was reading the excerpts of the fresh status report of the ED submitted in a sealed cover, did not mention the names of the company but assured that attachment proceedings will be initiated soon and complete within two months.

He hinted that attachment orders will be issued shortly under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) and Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA), against the two companies against whom the ED has so far registered the complaints.

The ED in its status report said the investigation was in progress regarding the involvement of five foreign companies in the 2G scam which are registered in Virgin Island.

The ED also gave details of various financial transaction connected with the scam and said the company connected with Shahid Usman Balwa's D B Realty was involved in the movement of Rs 1,400 crore.

CBI files fresh status report

Meanwhile, CBI also filed a fresh status report about its probe and sought more time to complete the investigation relating to the allocation of spectrum during the period of 2001-07.

Appreciating the probe by the CBI and ED, the bench said they have done a "commendable job".

CBI told the court that during the investigation it has become clear that rules were circumvented and huge amount by way of bribery was exchanged in the allocation of 2G spectrum. It said the top officials of telecom companies including their managing directors and share holders were "directly" involved in bribery.

While perusing the CBI's status report, the bench observed that there were some "revealing" information in it relating to a particular company whose officials are likely to be named in the chargesheet.

Advocate Prashant Bhushan, appearing for the NGO, Centre for Public Interest Litigation, on whose petition CBI probe was ordered in the 2G scam, said the agency in its first chargesheet named Swan Telecom and Reliance Telecom as accused in the case along with three top officers of the later.

However, he said the CBI has not named Reliance Telecom's Chairman Anil Ambani as an accused who has 50 percent share in the company.

The bench said, "This is for the special court (exclusively dealing with the 2G case) to consider."

The CBI officers are doing a difficult job under tremendous pressure and "big fish" are not apprehended, Bhushan said, adding Swan Telecom was financed by the Reliance and the person who benefits is having 50 per cent share and is the chairman of the company.

Further, he said the Swan Telecom was financed by Reliance Telecom itself which was ineligible for 2G licence.

JPN/Agencies