2G case: Niira Radia deposes in court

New Delhi, May 28 (IANS) Niira Radia, former corporate lobbyist who appeared for the first time as a prosecution witness in the 2G case, Tuesday told a Delhi court that she felt that Swan Telecom was not eligible to get the telecom licences.

“During the time of grant of spectrum, there was a very strong public perception created by the media of eligibility and non-eligibility. Through the public perception and advice of Tata advocates, I came to know that this company (Swan Telecom) was not eligible,” Radia told Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Special Judge O.P. Saini.

The promoters of Swan Telecom Shahid Usman Balwa and Vinod Goenka are facing trial in the case.

“At that time, there were dossiers in circulation that the company (Swan Telecom) belonged to Reliance Communications, though I do not have any authentic or personal knowledge,” she added.

She told the court that her public relations company was advising Tatas on telecom matters and Tata Teleservices Ltd (TTSL) had applied for dual technology licences in 2007.

Radia said she had got the contract from Tatas for public relations work which she carried out through her Vaishnavi Corporate Communications Pvt Ltd.

TTSL was granted a dual technology licence in 2008 but it did not get the spectrum, she told the court.

“TTSL was advised that they were in the queue and would be granted spectrum as and when it would be available. I was coordinating the telecom matters with the Tatas and was not acting in this field singly. TTSL had applied for dual technology spectrum for Delhi service area also,” she said.

Radia also told the court that TTSL had opposed the allocation of spectrum to Swan Telecom.

The court deferred the recording of her statement to July 2.

In its chargesheet, filed April 2, 2011, the CBI named Radia as a prosecution witness.

The statement of Radia assumes significance as she, in her statement recorded during the probe under section 161 of the CrPC (dealing with examination of witnesses) before CBI, had said that Swan Telecom was not eligible to get the unified access service (UAS) licences.

Radia in her statement, recorded by the CBI in December 2010, said: “Regarding M/s Swan Telecom, which was the only applicant to get the spectrum in Delhi circle, I would like to state that M/s Swan Telecom as applicant was not even eligible for getting a UAS licence, in view of the cross holding clause.”

The promoters of Swan Telecom Shahid Usman Balwa and Vinod Goenka are among those facing trial for their alleged roles in the case.

Also during the investigation into the case, Radia earlier told the probe agency that she had talked to DMK MP Kanimozhi, also an accused in the case, after the 2009 general election.

In her statement recorded by the CBI Jan 29, 2011, Radia refuted the allegation that she had approached Kanimozhi over a related matter.

The court warned Radia for “evading” questions related to the case.

“You are a very sensitive witness. Be brief and be specific in your answers,” the judge told her when she was not giving direct answers.

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