2G case: Court warns Niira Radia for evading questions

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New Delhi, May 29: Former corporate lobbyist Niira Radia was on Tuesday, May 28 warned by a Delhi court for "evading" questions relating to the 2G spectrum allocation case in which she is considered as a "sensitive" and "important" witness.

"You are a very sensitive witness. Be brief and be specific in your answers," Special CBI Judge O P Saini told her when she was not giving direct answers and was speaking in an inaudible manner.

"You are trying to evade the question. It is a very simple question," the judge said when Radia was evading a question by the CBI prosecutor as to why Tata Teleservices Ltd (TTSL) was granted CDMA licence so late in 2008, three years after it had applied in 2005.

Niira Radia

"Please be a little loud. Don't talk to yourself or to the public prosecutor. Your answers should be audible to me.

There are accused persons, defence counsel and other persons who are interested in this case, so you should be audible to them also," the judge said.

53-year-old Radia, an undergraduate, was told by the judge that she is an intelligent professional and she should answer the questions by first understanding them.

"Please understand the question properly. I have heard from media reports that you are a very intelligent person and you are a professional also, so first understand the question and then answer," the judge said.

The court also asked CBI to be brief and specific in its questions, saying that Radia is a very sensitive witness.

"Witness is very sensitive. Witness is very important also. Please be brief and specific in your questions to her," the court told the CBI prosecutor during the recording of her statement.

Appearing in the court for the first time, former corporate lobbyist Niira Radia today said she felt that Swan Telecom Pvt Ltd "was not eligible" to get the 2G Spectrum licences as it was said to belong to Reliance ADAG group company Reliance Communications.

Testifying as a prosecution witness in CBI court in the case, she said that during the time of grant of spectrum, there was a very strong public perception that Swan Telecom Pvt Ltd (STPL) was not eligible.

STPL's promoters Shahid Usman Balwa and Vinod Goenka are facing trial in the case.

"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 Special CBI Judge O P Saini.

During her examination-in-chief by the CBI prosecutor, she told the court that at the time of grant of licences, dossiers were in circulation which said Swan Telecom Pvt Ltd belonged to Reliance Communications.

"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 said.

Radia said her public relations company was advising Tatas on telecom matters and Tata Teleservices Ltd (TTSL) had applied for dual technology licences in 2007.

PTI

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