Additional spectrum case: Court to hear matter on Feb 6

spectrum caseA special 2G court today fixed February 6 to hear the 2002 additional spectrum allocation scam case in which the CBI had charge-sheeted former Telecom Secretary Shyamal Ghosh and three telecom firms.

Special CBI Judge O P Saini fixed the case for Friday after the defence counsel told the court that they needed some documents from CBI which were filed along with the charge sheet.

The court asked the CBI to provide the documents as sought by the counsel for the accused. The agency has already supplied the copies of the charge sheet and documents filed along with it to the accused.

The court was earlier informed that the Supreme Court has quashed the order summoning Bharti Cellular Ltd CMD Sunil Bharti Mittal and Essar Group promoter Ravi Ruia as accused in the case.

Hearing in the case was virtually stalled since the April 26, 2013, interim order of the apex court which had said that proceedings against Mittal and Ruia, who had challenged trial court’s summoning order, will remain “postponed” until further orders.

The apex court had cleared the decks for Mittal and Ruia by setting aside the order summoning them, observing that the principle of ‘alter ego’ has wrongly been applied by the trial judge in seeking presence of both the top corporate honchos as accused.

Besides Mittal, Ruia and Shyamal Ghosh, the special court had also summoned Canada-based NRI Asim Ghosh, who was then a Managing Director of accused firm Hutchison Max Telecom Pvt Ltd, as accused. Mittal, Ruia and Asim Ghosh were not named as accused in the CBI charge sheet.

CBI had filed the charge sheet in the case on December 21, 2012, against Shyamal Ghosh and three telecom firms — Bharti Cellular Ltd, Hutchison Max Telecom Pvt Ltd (now known as Vodafone India Ltd) and Sterling Cellular Ltd (now known as Vodafone Mobile Service Ltd).

The agency had charge-sheeted them as accused in the case relating to the Department of Telecommunications allocating additional spectrum, which had allegedly resulted in a loss of Rs 846 crore to the exchequer.

In the 57-page charge sheet, CBI has booked Shyamal Ghosh and the three firms for the offences of criminal conspiracy (120-B) of the IPC and under provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act.

Mittal, Ruia appear in Delhi court in a 2G spectrum case

Bharti CMD Sunil Mittal and Essar group promoter Ravi Ruia today appeared in a Delhi court which posted the matter for further proceedings on April 16.

Sunil Mittal and Ravi Ruia have been summoned as accused in the additional 2G spectrum allocation case.

Mittal’s counsel placed before special CBI judge O P Saini the order passed by the Supreme Court postponing till April 16 the proceedings in the case.

Besides Mittal and Ruia, former Telecom Secretary Shyamal Ghosh, who was summoned by the special CBI judge, also appeared in pursuance to the summons issued against him.

The court, after going through the apex court’s order on separate petitions filed by Mittal and Ruia, listed the matter on April 16 for further proceedings. The apex court will hear their pleas on April 15.

The special court had on March 19 summoned Mittal, Ruia, who was then a Director in one of the accused companies Sterling Cellular Ltd and Asim Ghosh, the then Managing Director of accused firm Hutchison Max Telecom Pvt Ltd.

Their names were not mentioned in the charge sheet filed by CBI on December 21, last year in the case.

Besides the three, the court had also summoned as accused Shyamal Ghosh and three telecom firms Bharti Cellular Ltd, Hutchison Max Telecom Pvt Ltd (now known as Vodafone India Ltd) and Sterling Cellular Ltd (now known as Vodafone Mobile Service Ltd).

The three telecom firms were represented by their counsel in the court today.

CBI, in its charge sheet, had named the three telecom companies as accused in the case relating to the Department of Telecommunication allocating additional spectrum which had allegedly resulted in a loss of Rs 846 crore to the exchequer.

During the proceedings, the court was told that the summons against Canada-based NRI Asim Ghosh had “remained unserved”.

Ruia had moved the apex court a day after it had postponed till April 16 the proceedings in the special CBI court against Mittal.

When CBI had opposed the plea of Mittal in the Supreme Court saying evidence has been found against him during investigation in the case, the apex court had questioned the probe agency as to why he was not named in the charge sheet.

CBI had filed the charge sheet on December 21 last year against former Telecom Secretary Shyamal Ghosh and three telecom firms — Bharti Cellular Ltd, Hutchison Max Telecom Pvt Ltd (now known as Vodafone India Ltd) and Sterling Cellular Ltd (now known as Vodafone Mobile Service Ltd).

Though Mittal, Ruia and Asim Ghosh were not mentioned in CBI’s charge sheet as accused, the special court in its order had said it was taking cognisance of the case and issuing summons to all the seven accused, including them, for April 11.

The special court had said that Mittal, Ruia and Asim Ghosh were “prima facie” in “control of affairs” of their respective companies which were charge sheeted by CBI for offences of criminal conspiracy (Sec 120-B) under the IPC and under provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act.

SC to hear pleas of Sunil Mittal, Airtel tomorrow

Bharti Airtel’s plea challenging the Delhi High Court order giving its nod to the Centre’s decision holding the 3G roaming pact of the telecom major as illegal will be hear by the bench headed by Chief Justice Altamas Kabir.

The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) on March 15 had issued a notification restraining Bharti from providing 3G intra-circle roaming facilities in seven circles where it did not have the spectrum and also levied a penalty of Rs 350 crore (Rs 50 crore per circle) for violating the licence terms and conditions.

The telecom major has challenged the decision of the division bench of the high court which had set aside its single judge’s March 18 order staying the DoT notification.

While challenging the special 2G court’s order summoning him as an accused, Mittal has contended that criminal liability cannot be fastened on an individual for alleged acts of a firm.

“The special judge failed to consider the settled law in the context of vicarious criminal liability of Managing Directors/Directors and other officers of corporations that in the absence of specific statutory provisions making individual actors liable, there shall be no vicarious criminal liability imposed on any individual for acts of any corporation,” mentioned in the petition filed by Mittal.

“Commission of an offence by raising a legal fiction or by creating a vicarious liability in terms of provisions of a statute must be expressly stated. The Managing Director or Directors of a company cannot be said to have committed an offence merely because they are holders of offices,” according to it.

Besides Mittal, special CBI judge O P Saini had also summoned two others — Essar Group promoter Ravi Ruia, who was then a director in one of accused company Sterling Cellular Ltd, and Asim Ghosh, then MD of accused firm Hutchison Max Telecom Pvt Ltd — whose name were not mentioned in the charge sheet.

SC agrees to hear Mittal’s plea against summons

The petition of the Bharti Airtel chairman Sunil Mittal  has been accepted by the Supreme Court to challenging a special court’s summons to him to appear before it as an accused in the 2G spectrum allocation case here in New Delhi.

The bench headed by Chief Justice Altamas Kabir posted the matter to 8 April.
Special court judge O.P. Saini had summoned Mittal to appear before him on 11 April on the grounds that as the head of BhartiAirtel when the alleged irregularities in spectrum allocation happened, he was responsible for his company’s actions and had knowledge of the allocation.
Saini has also summoned Essar Group vice-chairman Ravi Ruia, who was then a director in one of accused companies, Sterling Cellular Ltd, and Asim Ghosh, then managing director of accused firm Hutchison Max Telecom Pvt. Ltd.
Their names were not mentioned in the chargesheet filed by the Central Bureau of Investigation that’s probing the case. But Saini ruled that Mittal, Ruia and Ghosh were “prima facie” in “control of affairs” of their companies.
“As such, they represented the directing mind and will of companies and their state of mind was that of the companies,” the judge had said, adding, “They are/were ‘alter-ego’ of their respective companies.”
On 21 December, the CBI filed a chargesheet against former telecom secretary Shyamal Ghosh and Bharti, Hutchison and Sterling (now part of Vodafone India Ltd), but didn’t name any individuals.

Sunil Mittal moves SC against 2G court’s order

Sunil Bharti Mittal who is the CMD of the Bharti Cellular Pvt. Ltd. has approached to the Supreme court of India to challenge the March 19 order of the special 2G court summoning him as an accused in a corruption case related to allocation of additional spectrum during the NDA regime in 2002.

Mr. Mittal, whose name was not mentioned in the CBI’s charge sheet as an accused, was, however, summoned by the special CBI court saying there were “enough material” to proceed against him in the case.

Special CBI judge O P Saini had also summoned two others — Essar Group promoter Ravi Ruia, who was then a director in one of the accused company Sterling Cellular Ltd, and Asim Ghosh, then managing director of accused firm Hutchison Max Telecom Pvt Ltd — whose name were not mentioned in the charge sheet.

The CBI had filed the charge sheet on December 21 last year against former Telecom Secretary Shyamal Ghosh and three telecom firms Bharti Cellular Ltd, Hutchison Max Telecom Pvt Ltd (now known as Vodafone India Ltd) and Sterling Cellular Ltd (now known as Vodafone Mobile Service Ltd). They all were also summoned for April 11 by the court.

The court had said that Mittal, Ruia and Asim Ghosh were “prima facie” in “control of affairs” of their companies which were named in the charge sheet by the CBI in the case.

The court, in its two-page order, had said that Mr. Mittal was the Chairman-cum-Managing Director of Bharti Cellular Ltd while Mr. Ruia was then a director of Sterling Cellular Ltd and they used to chair the board meetings of their respective companies and the “acts of the companies are to be attributed and imputed to them”.