Free Press Journal

Will not file written reply to accused plea: DoT to 2G court


New Delhi: Department of Telecom (DoT) today informed a special court that as it was neither a party nor a complainant in a case arising out of the probe into 2G scam, it does not wish to file a reply on a plea by accused firm Loop Telecom Ltd for referring the matter to Lok Adalat. A DoT official, who appeared in the court, told Special CBI Judge O P Saini that the department was sticking to its earlier stand on the application that it does not wish to file any written reply on the issue.

“It is submitted by Parajeet Singh Chadha, under secretary, DoT, that DoT does not wish to file any reply to the application as it is not a party in this case. It is further submitted that the court may take any view in its discretion, in the light of reply of CBI,” the judge said.

The court has now fixed March 3 for hearing arguments on the plea filed by Loop Telecom Ltd. On February 3, DoT had sought more time to file a reply on the plea which was reluctantly granted by the court. Loop Telecom Ltd is facing trial in the case along with promoters of Essar Group, Ravi Ruia and Anshuman Ruia, Loop promoters Kiran Khaitan, her husband I P Khaitan and Essar Group Director (Strategy and Planning) Vikash Saraf.

Besides them, two other telecom companies — Loop Mobile India Ltd and Essar Tele Holding Ltd — are also facing trial in the case. All of them have denied charges levelled by CBI. CBI had earlier opposed the plea filed by Loop Telecom Ltd saying it should be dismissed as their application was not legally maintainable and the firm was trying to get the court’s last year’s order “reviewed”.

The court, on March 27 last year, had dismissed a plea by Loop Telecom Ltd seeking directions for referring the case to Lok Adalat, observing that prima facie there were “no chances of settlement” and the case had “wider ramifications”. Lok Adalat is an alternative dispute resolution mechanism by which the parties involved in civil and compoundable criminal cases try to arrive at a compromise to settle their case.

The court had earlier fixed March 3 for hearing the final arguments in the case, in which it had concluded recording of defence evidence in September last year. On May 25, 2012, the court had framed charges against all the accused under section 120-B (criminal conspiracy) read with section 420 (cheating) of the IPC, while the charge of cheating was made out only against Saraf.

During the recording of prosecution evidence in the case which had commenced on July 26, 2012, the court had recorded statements of 95 CBI witnesses, running into 1,056 pages, while the accused had examined 12 witnesses in their defence. CBI had chargesheeted the accused on December 12, 011, alleging they had cheated the DoT by using Loop Telecom as a “front” to secure 2G licences in 2008.