Tuesday , 22 May 2018

Additional Spectrum: Court to pass order on charges on October 15

NEW DELHI: A Special 2G court Wednesday said it would pronounce on October 15 its order on framing of charges in the 2002 additional spectrum allocation case in which former Telecom Secretary Shyamal Ghosh and three telecom firms are accused.

Special CBI Judge O P Saini, who was scheduled to pass the order on framing of charges as well as order on the bail plea of Ghosh, deferred it saying the order is not yet ready.

“On account of the voluminous record of the case, the order is not ready. Put up for order on October 15,” the judge said.

During the brief hearing, some of the accused filed some written submissions before the court which took it on record.

Ghosh and three telecom companies — Hutchison Max (P) Ltd, Sterling Cellular Ltd and Bharti Cellular Ltd — were charge-sheeted by CBI in the case relating to Department of Telecommunications (DoT) allocating additional spectrum that had allegedly led to a loss of Rs 846.44 crore to the exchequer.

Ghosh, a retired 1965 batch IAS officer, was the Telecom Secretary between February 7, 2000 and May 31, 2002. During arguments on charges, CBI had said that Ghosh had given additional spectrum to telecom firms at “throwaway prices” causing a huge loss to the exchequer.

Ghosh had countered CBI’s arguments, saying private firms were not the only beneficiaries of surplus radio waves, but state-run MTNL and BSNL had also benefitted.

He had also claimed that it cannot be said the allocation was done primarily to benefit private companies and asserted that he had not abused his official position in any manner.

Similarly, the accused telecom firms had also countered CBI’s loss theory, saying they were allotted “spare radio waves” which would have caused gain to the government.

In its charge sheet, CBI had alleged that Ghosh “deliberately” and with “malafide intention” did not obtain comments of then Member (Finance) of DoT on the issue despite the matter involving huge “financial implications”.

All the accused have been charge sheeted for the alleged offence of criminal conspiracy (section 120-B) of the IPC and under provisions of Prevention of Corruption Act.

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