New Delhi: Telecom firm Essar Tele Holding Ltd (ETHL) on Thursday told a special Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court that it did not misrepresent facts in its application to acquire 2G spectrum licence in 2008. The court was hearing a case arising out of the 2G scam probe in which ETHL has been accused of cheating and criminal conspiracy to buy spectrum.
Earlier, the CBI counsel in the 2G spectrum case had alleged that Loop Telecom was a front or shell company for ETHL. Special CBI prosecutor Anand Grover argued that Loop violated the Unified Access Services Licences under which a service provider can offer both fixed and mobile services under the same licence.
Under UASL guidelines, “no single company or legal person, either directly or through its associates, shall have 10% or more equity holding in more than one licensee company in the same service area for same service." The investigating agency argued that at the time of granting the licence, Essar Group was effectively controlling Loop Telecom.
Senior advocate Harish Salve, counsel for Essar Group, told the court that there can be no case of misrepresentation as the department of telecommunications (DoT) was aware of all allegations being made by the CBI. Essar also claimed that the DoT has not supported the CBI’s stand. Special judge O.P Saini noted that the DoT itself is not clear on the interpretation of the guidelines in question.
Essar Group promoters Ravi Ruia and Anshuman Ruia, Loop Telecom promoters Kiran Khaitan, her husband I.P. Khaitan and Essar Group director (Strategy and Planning) Vikash Saraf are facing trial in the case arising out of the 2G scam probe, along with three telecom firms—Loop Telecom, Loop Mobile India Ltd and ETHL. All the accused face charges of criminal conspiracy and cheating.
The court is hearing final arguments in the case and it will continue on 8 January.