New Delhi: A consortium of banks led by the State Bank of India (SBI) moved the Supreme Court on Tuesday seeking to be heard before the court decides to cancel Aircel’s use of the 2G licences it acquired in 2006.
The government’s top law officer, attorney general Mukul Rohatgi, appeared on behalf of 12 banks, including SBI, Punjab National Bank, Bank of Baroda and Canara Bank.
“Aircel owes the banks around Rs20,000 crore. Any order on 2G airwaves could have an impact on the creditors,” Rohatgi told the court.
On 6 January, the apex court had restrained Aircel Ltd from selling and trading 2G spectrum allotted to it in 2006 and said it would consider cancellation of the licences if the Maxis Group owner T. Ananda Krishnan failed to respond to the court’s summons.
Maxis Group has a 74% stake in Aircel.
A special Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court has ordered Krishnan to appear before it in connection with the Aircel-Maxis case, but he hasn’t complied. The CBI has set a 27 January deadline for him to appear before it.
The Aircel-Maxis case relates to irregularities in allotment of 2G spectrum licences during the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance rule.
Maxis had acquired the 74% stake in 2006 from Aircel owner C. Sivasankaran. The CBI has alleged that Sivasankaran sold the stake under duress from the then telecom minister Dayanidhi Maran, who stalled approvals it needed, and that Maxis, in return, invested in his brother Kalanithi Maran’s Sun Direct, the direct-to-home TV arm of his Sun TV Network Ltd.
The case will be heard next on 3 February.