Bharti Cellular Limited CMD Sunil Bharti Mittal and Essar Group promoter Ravi Ruia has been exempted by the Supreme Court here in New Delhi on Friday from personally appearing in the trial court in connection with alleged irregularities in the 2G spectrum allocation in 2002.
A Bench comprising Chief Justice Altamas Kabir, Justice S S Nijjar and Justice Pinaki Chandra Ghose said that hearing against the two in the Special CBI Court shall remain postponed until further orders.
“Interim order (on postponement of hearing in the trial court) will continue in the meantime, and the petitioners (Mittal and Ruia) are not required to appear before the Special Judge / CBI (2G spectrum cases), New Delhi, as they have already furnished their personal bonds,” the Bench added.
The Bench issued notice to the CBI on Mittal’s petition challenging the trial court order summoning him as an accused in the case, and asked the agency to file its response in four weeks. Mittal was asked to file his rejoinder to the CBI’s counter affidavit three weeks thereafter.
Both Justice Anil R Dave and Justice Vikramajit Sen, who were initially on the Bench, recused themselves from hearing the case. Following this, a new Bench began hearing the matter on Thursday. While Justice Vikaramajit recused himself from hearing on April 15, Justice Dave recused himself on April 16. However, they did not give any reasons for their actions.
Justice Ghose was included as the third judge in the Bench on Friday. On Thursday, the Chief Justice and Justice Nijjar heard senior counsel Harish Salve appearing for Mittal.
Salve made out a strong case on Thursday for Mittal. He cited a ruling of three judges of the apex court which said that the moment a chargesheet is filed, the link is snapped. The “umbilical chord” is gone, he said. In the present case, summons was issued to Mittal after the chargesheet was filed.
On April 8, the apex court had directed postponement of the hearing before the trial court while asking the CBI to file a short affidavit along with the police report, i.e the chargesheet.
On April 10, the apex court had issued notice and sought response of CBI on Ruia’s plea while extending him the relief granted to Mittal.
The counsel appearing for Mittal and Ruia submitted that till the matter is heard by the apex court, the interim order of April 8 be allowed to continue.
It said since they have furnished personal bonds in the trial court the duo should not be asked to appear before the trial judge.