Free Press Journal

Surplus spectrum: SC dismisses plea of accused firms


2G Scam

New Delhi: Supreme Court today dismissed the pleas of two telecom firms chargesheeted in the 2002 additional spectrum allocation case, challenging the special 2G court’s jurisdiction to deal with the matter, asking the companies whether they were bent upon preventing the trial. Accused firms Hutchison Max (P) Ltd and Sterling Cellular Ltd had contended that the matter did not relate to the 2G spectrum case and the special court set up to deal exclusively with cases arising out of the scam did not have the juridiction to hear their case.

“Are you people somehow bent on preventing the trial,” a bench comprising Justices T S Thakur and V Gopala Gowda asked and added “this is most improper. The richer the client, the greater the tendency of prolonging the matter.” “The judicial process comes to disrepute because of these ingenious applications. We will not fall prey to this,” the bench observed while rejecting their appeal against special court’s July 23 order by which it had dismissed a similar plea and imposed costs of Rs 25,000 on each of the firms.

It further said that all “frivolous applications” were aimed at holding back the judicious process. The firms, while challenging the special court’s jurisdiction to deal with the matter on the ground that their case did not relate to 2G spectrum scam, had said the court was constituted to deal with matters pertaining only to 2G scam and additional spectrum case was not covered.

Earlier, the two firms on August 14 had withdrawn their plea from the Delhi High Court and decided to move the apex court which is monitoring the 2G scam, after the CBI said that any appeal against the special court’s decisions has to be moved before the apex court.

The accused had argued that they never got licence in the period 2001-08, which is under probe by CBI on the apex court’s direction and were already an existing licencee. Former Telecom Secretary Shyamal Ghosh and three telecom firms — Hutchison Max, Sterling and Bharti Cellular Ltd, were named by CBI in its charge sheet in the case relating to the Department of Telecommunications allocating additional spectrum that had allegedly resulted in a loss of Rs 846 crore to the exchequer.