New Delhi: Former Telecom Secretary Shyamal Ghosh, chargesheeted in 2002 additional spectrum allocation case, today told a special court that private companies were not the only beneficiaries of surplus radio waves, but state- run MTNL and BSNL were too. Continuing the arguments on framing of charges, Ghosh’s counsel said the CBI had followed the process of “pick and choose” in naming the accused in the case.

“The CBI’s allegation is that Ghosh allocated additional spectrum to favour private companies. Apart from the three accused private firms, spectrum was also allocated to public sector companies MTNL and BSNL. “MTNL and BSNL are government firms and the decision would have also benefitted the government. CBI has followed the process of pick and choose in arraying people and companies as accused,” senior advocate Sukumar Pattjoshi, who appeared for Ghosh, told Special CBI Judge O P Saini.

It cannot be said that the allocation was primarily done to benefit private companies, he asserted. Ghosh and telecom firms Hutchison Max (P) Ltd, 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 the exchequer.

Ghosh’s counsel also argued that no case was made out against his client or even other accused as the CBI’s case was based on the statements of J R Gupta, former Deputy Director General (VAS) cell of DoT who was named in the FIR as one of the accused but not chargesheeted.

Therefore, Gupta’s statements cannot be relied upon or taken into account, Pattjoshi said. The counsel said he was finding fault with the quality of investigation done by the CBI which, after a thorough probe, has “reduced an accused to a witness”. He said Gupta was present when all important decisions on allocation of additional spectrum were taken in the DoT. Ghosh’s counsel concluded his arguments on framing of charges and the court would tomorrow hear the arguments on behalf of other accused companies in the case.

(To download our E-paper please click here. The publishers permit sharing of the paper's PDF on WhatsApp and other social media platforms.)

Free Press Journal