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A special CBI court here Wednesday took cognisance of the third set of charges filed in the 2G case alleging criminal conspiracy and cheating by three more firms and five individuals, including some promoters of the Essar Group. It also asked the five accused to appear before it Jan 27 next year.

Issuing summons to all the eight accused, the Central Bureau of Investigation Special Judge O.P. Saini said: “I have carefully gone through the charge sheet and the statement of witnesses and documents related to it. On the basis of material on record, I take cognisance and issue summons to all eight.”

The court asked them to appear before it Jan 27, 2012.

The court issued summons to all the five individuals — Essar Group’s Anshuman Ruia, Ravikant Ruia and Vikash Saraf and promoters of Loop Ishwari Prasad Khaitan and Kiran Khaitan.

Summons were also issued to three telecom companies – Essar Teleholdings, Loop Telecom and Loop Mobile India.

The number of individuals accused in the case has risen to 19, while the companies against which charges have been framed add up to six.

The fresh set of charges alleged that Essar Group used Loop as a front company to acquire telecom licences in 2008. Essar, which already had a 33 percent stake in Vodafone, held substantial equity in Loop and thus violated telecom licence norms, the charge sheet said.

The licences to Loop were given during the tenure of former communications minister A. Raja, who is in Tihar Jail under judicial custody, as the prime accused in the case. The firm secured licences for 21 circles for around Rs.1,450 crore.

“The investigation has established that the said telecom private firm was an ineligible company to get the said licences being an associate company of another telecom group under a corporate veil,” the probe agency said.

“The fraudulent act was actually a result of the entire conspiracy to cheat the DoT (department of telecommunications) through a fraudulent corporate veil, to hide the actual holding structure of Loop Telecom and Loop Mobile India (erstwhile BPL mobile communication) which was committed through Essar Teleholdings,” the CBI said.

The Essar Group, however, denied any wrongdoing. “Essar Group is surprised that the special court has taken cognisance of the matter even though there is no charge of corruption made by the CBI,” said the statement.

Essar will take further legal recourse to defend its position, it said.

The probe agency filed the first set of charges April 2, naming as accused Raja’s former personal secretary R.K. Chandolia, former telecom secretary Siddhartha Behura, Swan Telecom’s Shahid Usman Balwa and Vinod Goenka and Unitech Wireless’ Sanjay Chandra and three others. It also named three companies, including Unitech Wireless and Swan Telecom.

The first supplementary charge sheet filed April 25 named Raja’s DMK party colleague and Rajya Sabha MP Kanimozhi, Kalaignar TV’s Sharad Kumar, Cineyug Film’s Karim Morani and directors of Kusegaon Fruits and Vegetables Asif Balwa and Rajeev B. Agarwal.

Among them, only Raja and Behura are in judicial custody.

 

 


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