Free Press Journal

Additional spectrum case: Court dismisses pleas on jurisdiction


New Delhi: A special 2G court today dismissed the “frivolous” pleas of two telecom firms, chargesheeted in the 2002 additional spectrum allocation case, challenging its jurisdiction to deal with the matter, saying the grounds taken were nothing but an exercise in “taxonomical absurdity”. The court also imposed a cost of Rs 25,000 each on the two accused firms, M/s Hutchison Max (P) Ltd and M/s Sterling Cellular Ltd, observing that pleas filed by them were aimed at wasting the judicial time by resorting to “narcissism” of small things.

Holding that issue raised by the two firms was “without merit”, Special CBI Judge O P Saini said that as long as the case stems out from the CAG report and Supreme Court’s orders, “the same is within the sweep of jurisdiction of this court as the court has been constituted to try all matters relating to 2G spectrum scam exclusively”.

“It is thus clear that the entire repertoire of grounds taken in the applications is nothing but an exercise in taxonomical absurdity aimed at wasting the time of the court by resorting to narcissism of small things,” the court said in its 62-page order.

“One has to wend through a mountain of documents by following a tangled and tortuous course, which virtually amounts to trawling an archive for disposing such frivolous applications,” it said. Referring to CAG report on 2G spectrum allocation as well the orders passed by the apex court, the court said it had been made clear “that all cases arising out of irregularities allegedly committed from 2001 to 2006­07 are part of what is known as 2G spectrum scam and as such, all cases arising there from are to be dealt with accordingly.”

The firms had challenged the court’s jurisdiction on the ground that their case did not relate to the 2G spectrum scam while CBI had opposed their contentions saying the case was among the various matters being monitored by the Supreme Court in connection with the 2G scam.

In its order, the court referred to apex court’s December 2010 order saying, “The above discussion makes it crystal clear that alleged irregularities committed in the allocation of additional spectrum are very much part of 2G spectrum scam.” “It is to be noted that 2G scam and 2G spectrum case are two different things. 2G spectrum scam covers the entire issues which were before the Supreme Court and have been dealt with in the order dated December 16, 2010.

“As such, the instant case is very much part of the 2G scam as the additional allocation of 2G spectrum to existing operators was adversely commented upon by CAG in its report and the CBI was directed by the Supreme Court to investigate this aspect also….,” it said.

The court also noted in its order that additional spectrum case and Aircel-Maxis case are the cases which are “traceable” to the 2G spectrum scam. “Scrupulous attention was not paid to the complicated facts of the case while filing the applications and the same have been filed with careless insouciance just to hold the law to ridicule even when the case has ineluctable foundation in 2G scam and no narrow or constricted interpretation will take it out of its pale,” the judge said.

The court dismissed both the pleas with a “nominal cost” of Rs 25,000 each saying, “The cost be deposited within seven days from today, failing which warrant of attachment shall follow.”

The court has now fixed August 17 for hearing arguments on charges in the case. Former Telecom Secretary Shyamal Ghosh and three telecom firms — Hutchison Max (P) Ltd, M/s Sterling Cellular Ltd and Bharti Cellular Ltd, were chargesheeted by CBI in the case relating to Department of Telecommunications (DoT) allocating additional spectrum that had allegedly resulted in a loss of Rs 846 crore to exchequer.