New Delhi: Reliance ADAG Chairman Anil Ambani will have to appear as a CBI witness in the 2G scam case with the Supreme Court on Wednesday refraining from passing any order and the trial court dismissing a plea for deferring his deposition scheduled on Thursday. In an attempt to get an interim order for exempting Ambani from appearing in the case on Thursday, Reliance Telecom Ltd made an oral plea before an apex court bench headed by Justice GS Singhvi.
The court said the plea will be considered only after it decides the petitions recalling two of its earlier orders barring High Court from hearing 2G cases. Having failed to get any relief from the apex court, a battery of senior lawyers including Ram Jethmalani and Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for different accused, immediately rushed to the trial court for postponement of examination of Ambani and his wife Tina Ambani.
The trial court, which had earlier postponed the examination of Anil Ambani, dismissed the plea of the accused firm saying no prejudice would be caused to any accused by examination of these witnesses. It also pointed out that no such prayer for postponement has been made by Ambanis themselves.
In an attempt to get an interim order for exempting Ambani from appearing in the case, Reliance Telecom Ltd had made an oral plea in the SC.
"Furthermore, the witness for tomorrow (Anil Ambani) has already been served and an accommodation was granted to him earlier also when he was summoned for July 26. At that time also, the accused had not stated that examination of these witnesses would cause prejudice to it. "I see no reason as to how any prejudice would be caused to the accused, if these witnesses are examined now," Special CBI Judge OP Saini said.
"Since no prayer has been made by Anil Ambani, who is to appear as witness tomorrow, and the plea of Tina Ambani, who is to appear as witness day after tomorrow, is pending disposal, I do not wish to say anything more," he said.
"More so when the instant application has been moved by an accused and not by any witness. Accordingly, I find no merit in the application and the same is dismissed," Judge OP Saini said. At the fag end of the hearing, senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for RTL, had sought a stay on July 19 order summoning 11 fresh witnesses including Ambanis.
However, the bench said it will pass an order on the plea for recall of April 11, 2011 and November 9, 2012 orders which will have a bearing on all the petitions filed in the apex court against the trial court's order. "We will try to pass order as early as possible," the bench said leaving no option for Rohatgi but to rush to trial court for relief for Ambanis which was refused.
On August 17, RTL had approached the special CBI court with the plea that it should "await" outcome of Supreme Court's proceedings on their petition challenging summoning of additional witnesses in the 2G case, before examining Anil Ambani and Tina Ambani. The trial court, in its July 19 order, had said that CBI's plea to summon Anil Ambani, Tina Ambani and 11 others as prosecution witnesses was essential for arriving at a just decision in the case.
The court has summoned Anil Ambani and Tina Ambani for August 22 and 23 respectively for recording their statements. RTL, along with others, including former Telecom Minister A Raja and DMK MP Kanimozhi, is facing trial in 2G case.