Case over grant of additional spectrum during NDA deferred

New Delhi, Feb 20: A Delhi court Thursday posted for April 4 the hearing of a case over grant of additional spectrum to private operators through a union government decision of January 2002, during the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) regime.

The hearing in the case was stayed April 26, 2013, by the Supreme Court which said that proceedings in the trial court would remain “postponed” until further orders.

The Supreme Court’s order came on Bharti Cellular CMD Sunil Mittal and Essar Group promoter Ravi Ruia’s pleas, challenging the special court’s order of March 19, 2013, by which it summoned them as accused in the case.

Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Special Judge O.P. Saini adjourned proceedings till April 4.

Mittal did not appear in the court, while former telecom secretary Shyamal Ghosh was present.

The CBI filed a charge sheet Dec 21, 2012, accusing three telecom firms, Bharti Cellular Ltd., Hutchison Max Telecom Pvt. Ltd. (now known as Vodafone India Ltd.), and Sterling Cellular Ltd. (now known as Vodafone Mobile Service Ltd.), and Shyamal Ghosh in the case.

The case relates to the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) allocating additional spectrum in a decision taken Jan 31, 2002, when the NDA was in power, allegedly resulting in a loss of Rs.846 crore to the exchequer.

Although the CBI did not name Mittal, Ruia and then managing director of Hutchison Max Telecom Pvt. Ltd., Asim Ghosh, as accused, the special court had issued summons to them.