Special CBI Judge O P Saini framed charges under section 120B (criminal conspiracy) of the IPC and under the provision of the Money Laundering Act against 19 accused, including 10 individuals and nine companies, who were charge sheeted by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in connection with the case.
"All charges are prima facie made out against each accused for laundering of money of Rs 200 crore from DB Group company to Kalaignar TV Pvt Ltd," the judge said.
As soon as the court pronounced its order, the judge asked all the accused that whether they were pleading guilty to the offence or were claiming trial.
To this, all the accused said that they claim trial for the charges framed against them.
ED, in its charge sheet, had alleged that the accused were involved in the Rs 200-crore money transaction which was not "bonafide" and "genuine" and it was a "bribe for grant of telecom licences to DB Group companies" by Raja.
The agency had claimed that the series of transactions relating to transfer of Rs 200 crore from DB group company to DMK-run Kalaignar TV through Kusegaon Fruits and Vegetables Pvt Ltd and Cineyug Films Pvt Ltd were not "genuine business transaction".
Besides Raja, Kanimozhi and Dayalu Ammal, the other accused in the case are Shahid Usman Balwa, Vinod Goenka, Directors of Kusegaon Fruits and Vegetables Pvt Ltd Asif Balwa and Rajiv Agarwal, Sharad Kumar, Bollywood producer Karim Morani and P Amirtham.
Countering the allegations, Raja and Kanimozhi had argued that documents filed along with the ED's complaint nowhere show that they were connected with Rs 200-crore transaction from DB group to Kalaignar TV.
Similarly, other co-accused, including Swan Telecom Pvt Ltd promoters Shahid Usman Balwa and Vinod Goenka, had argued that there were no evidence to connect them with the alleged crime and its proceeds.
According to ED, Kanimozhi and co-accused Sharad Kumar, MD of Kalaignar TV, were having 20 per cent stake each in the TV channel while Dayalu Ammal was holding the rest 60 per cent stake. All the individual accused in the case are presently out on bail.
In its charge sheet, ED had claimed that its probe into the case emanates from the 2G spectrum allocation scam and the accused had allegedly conspired and committed offences under provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
ED has also named Swan Telecom Pvt Ltd, Kusegaon Realty Pvt Ltd (formerly known as Kusegaon Fruits and Vegetables Pvt Ltd), Cineyug Media and Entertainment Pvt Ltd (formerly known as Cineyug Films Pvt Ltd), Kalaignar TV Pvt Ltd, Dynamix Realty, Eversmile Construction Company Pvt Ltd, Conwood Constructions and Developers (P) Ltd, DB Realty Ltd and Nihar Constructions Pvt Ltd as accused in the case.
ED had alleged that its investigation has revealed that Rs 200 crore was paid to Kalaignar TV by Shahid Usman Balwa and Vinod Goenka through Kusegaon Fruits and Vegetables Pvt Ltd and Cineyug Films Pvt Ltd in the "garb of legitimate financial transactions i.e. as loan/share application money".
The charge sheet claimed that Rs 200 crore, which was paid in return for illegal favours given to Swan Telecom for grant of UAS licence, was repaid with additional money to show that it was a legal transaction.