New Delhi: Swan Telecom Promoter Shahid Usman Balwa in a Delhi court on Monday demanded that the CBI must answer as to what is the actual loss suffered by the state exchequer due to the 2G spectrum scam?

Opposing framing of corruption and other penal charges against him, Balwa told Special CBI Judge O P Saini that the agency should have written a letter to the Prime Minister or the Finance Minister to know the actual loss to the exchequer due to the scam.

"The CBI must answer as to what is the actual loss to the state exchequer. It (loss) is the basis of the prosecution and it has to be supported with documentation," advocate Majeed Memon, appearing for Balwa, said.

Memon asserted that the CBI's case is based upon the loss to the state exchequer but the government had stated in Parliament that no loss was suffered and instead the tele-density in the country had increased in 2010 from what it was in 2004.

Memon also asked the CBI if any loss has been suffered by the state exchequer, who exactly was responsible for it and up to what extent.

He also said the probe agency must answer whether Swan Telecom was ineligible to get Unified Access Services (UAS) licence in January 2008.

Balwa's counsel also accused the CBI of adopting selective approach in arresting people in the case.

"It is surprising how out of various companies (which got licences for 22 circles) and persons, the CBI picked up A and B and left others. Why are they adopting the selective approach?,"

Memon asked, accusing CBI of conducting "a biased, selective and discriminatory approach" in the investigation. "You (CBI) have just picked up one man of your choice from one point and the other from another point. CBI is blowing up the case so that the court would be hesitant to consider liberty of a person even after months. It is guilty of misleading the court," Balwa's counsel told the court.

Memon also asked the CBI to explain as to why former Telecom Minister A Raja is in jail if ministers belonging to the BJP or NDA government are not in jail despite evolving and following the same policy that Raja had pursued.

Without naming anyone, Memon submitted that Balwa is paying the price because of business rivalry.

"I (Balwa) am a successful businessman and thus I am paying the price because of my business rivals. There is a feeling of vengeance (in my business rivals) as I am a threat to my competitors," he said.

Balwa, arrested on February 8, is presently lodged in Tihar Jail along with other 13 accused including Raja and DMK MP Kanimozhi.

Charges of cheating, forgery, criminal conspiracy and corruption have been levelled against Balwa.

The CBI charge sheet has alleged that bribe money of Rs 200 crore had been channelised from Balwa's DB Realty to DMK-run Kalaignar TV through a "circuitous route" via Cineyug Films and Kusegaon Fruits and Vegetables Pvt Ltd for grant of licence to Balwa's Swan Telecom Promoter.

The agency, in its first charge sheet, has alleged that Balwa along with other co-accused in the case entered into a conspiracy for manipulating the procedure for allocation of spectrum with the aim of favouring companies like Swan Telecom and Unitech Group.

Balwa asked as to why no one ever objected to telecom majors like Airtel, Tata and Vodafone securing licences between 2004 to 2007 at 2001 rates, while granting 2G licence to him at 2001 prices.

Balwa's counsel pointed out to the Special CBI Judge that the prices were fixed in 2001 and were followed till 2008.

"May I ask if after 2004, no one talks of giving licences to Tata, Airtel and Vodafone on the same price as fixed in 2001," he said, pointing out that Vodafone was awarded licences to operate in Madhya Pradesh Telecom circle on 2001 rates in March 2007.

"In March 2007, Vodafone was given licence at the price fixed in 2001 and 10 months later (in January 2008) eyebrows are being raised that I got licences at the price of 2001," Memon said.

He will continue arguments opposing framing of corruption and other penal charges against Balwa in the post lunch session.

Till now, the court has heard arguments on behalf of former Telecom Minister A Raja, his personal secretary R K Chandolia and former Telecom Secretary Siddhartha Behura opposing framing of charges against them in the 2G spectrum scam.

SC rejects Morani's interim bail plea

The Supreme Court on Monday declined the interim bail plea of Cineyug Films founder Karim Morani, who is in jail for his alleged involvement in the 2G spectrum scam.

The Apex Court bench of Justice G S Singhvi and Justice H L Dattu instead asked Morani to approach the jail authorities for his treatment and the enforcement of the Delhi High Court direction in this respect.  The Central Bureau of Investigation named Morani as a co-conspirator in a charge sheet after it traced to him an illegal money trail of Rs 214 crore in the scam. 

The Apex Court bench while declining his plea said that merely because a person was an accused, no court would say that you cannot be given treatment.

(Agencies)