A special court on Friday framed charges of money laundering against former Union telecom minister A Raja, Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) chief M Karunanidhi’s wife Dayalu Ammal and daughter K Kanimozhi, and 16 others for “parking” allegedly illegal funds of Rs 200 crore in Kalaignar TV in the 2G telecom spectrum allocation case.
“There is enough material on record to make out or presume a prima facie case against each accused for committing an offence of money-laundering. Let the charge be framed against them,” said special Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) judge O P Saini.
On Friday, all the accused, except Ammal, were present in court. All have pleaded not guilty and have been put on trial by the judge. The trial is slated to begin on November 11.
The special court framed charges under section 4 of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act against 19 accused — 10 individuals and nine companies — who were chargesheeted by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in the case in April this year. If convicted, the accused could be imprisoned for up to seven years.
In its 208-page order, the court noted there were “factual and credible allegations against each of the accused”.
“A Raja, in connivance with M K Dayalu (alias Dayalu Ammal), K Kanimozhi and (Kalaignar TV managing director) Sharad Kumar, was actually involved in parking the illegal gratification of Rs 200 crore received from (Swan Telecom promoters) Shahid U Balwa and Vinod K Goenka in KTV. He was also actually involved in the process of refund of the proceeds of crime of Rs 223.55 crore to wriggle out of the charges of crime. Thus, Raja has committed the offence of money laundering, as defined under section 3 of the Act,” the court said.
Appearing for eight of the accused, advocate Vijay Aggarwal said the ED and the CBI were taking contradictory stands on the number of the accused and the companies to be chargesheeted. “This ED case is at complete variance with the CBI one and we will get the benefit of this in both cases,” he said.
In its charge sheet, the ED alleged there was a case against all the accused under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act for being involved in a Rs 200-crore transaction channelled by the Swan promoters to Kalaignar TV in 2008 through a chain of interconnected companies involving all the accused. Ammal held 60 per cent stake in Kalaignar TV, while Kanimozhi and Kumar owned 20 per cent each.
After the charges were pronounced by the court, the judge asked all the accused if they would plead guilty or claim trial. The accused opted for a trial.