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2gLoop Telecom promoter I P Khaitan, facing trial in a case arising out of the probe into the 2G spectrum allocation scam, today claimed before a special court that some of the CBI witnesses might have deposed against him under the influence from corporate rivals.

Deposing before special CBI judge O P Saini, he said that telecom sector is a competitive business and there was a possibility that some of the prosecution witnesses had deposed against him during the trial under influence from rival firms. He also told the court that he used to take every decision in Loop Telecom.

During the recording of statement, Khaitan alleged that clause 8 of unified access service licence, which according to the CBI was violated by the accused facing trial in the case, was misunderstood. 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 along with three firms Loop Telecom Ltd, Loop Mobile India Ltd and Essar Tele Holding Ltd.

In its charge sheet, CBI had alleged that Essar Group, which already had a stake as an existing telecom operator, created Loop Telecom as a “front company” to secure additional spectrum which was in contravention of then telecom policy. The probe agency had also alleged that after the issuance of letter of intents to Loop Telecom for 21 circles by the Department of Telecommunication (DoT) on January 10, 2008, licence fees was paid by the firm which was allegedly sourced from Essar Group.

During the day’s proceeding, the court also concluded the recording of statement Saraf. The stage for recording of statements of the accused was set earlier when the court had given a draft questionnaire having 645 questions each and running into 308 pages to them.

The court had framed charges against promoters of Essar Group and Loop Telecom for the offences under section 120 B (criminal conspiracy) read with section 420 (cheating) of the IPC while the substantial charge of cheating was made out against Saraf only. All of them have denied the charges levelled by CBI in the case.

(Source: PTI)

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