The Delhi High Court Tuesday asked Essar Teleholdings, Loop Telecom and the CBI to seek a clarification from the Supreme Court on the companies’ plea to delink their cases from the other co-accused in the 2G trial.
The companies say their case should not be heard by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) special court here dealing with the 2G case as they have not been charged under the Prevention of Corruption Act like the other co-accused.
Fixing the matter for Feb 16, a division bench of Justice B.D. Ahmed and Justice V.K. Jain said: “You get a clarification from the Supreme Court, then we will hear the matter.”
“It would be appropriate for these parties to seek a clarification from the Supreme Court whether the high court can proceed with the hearing of this petition,” the judges said.
Loop Telecom and the Essar Group moved the high court pleading that their case be taken out of the court of the special judge to a magistrate’s court as there was no corruption charge against them.
A senior advocate appearing for petitioners submitted that it was beyond the jurisdiction of the special judge to hear this matter.
No case other than the one filed under the anti-corruption law can be heard by a trial judge. “Filing of chargesheet and taking cognizance of the chargesheet is beyond his jurisdiction,“ he said.
The petitioners also contended that their case was triable by a magistrate as there was no corruption charge against them, but the special judge had relied upon an administrative order issued by the high court.
The high court passed an administrative order earlier by which the special court was constituted March 15 last year to exclusively hear the 2G scam case.
The third set of formal charges filed by the CBI in the case also said that the offences alleged against the companies could be tried by a magistrate as they had not been chargesheeted under the Prevention of Corruption Act, said counsel for one of the companies.
The CBI Dec 12, 2011 filed a third chargesheet against the Loop promoters and the Essar Group for criminal conspiracy and cheating.
The fresh set of charges contended that the 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 chargesheet said.