Court summons Ruia and Mittal in 2G case
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Naming them as accused in the alleged irregularities in the allotment of telecom spectrum in 2001-02, a special CBI court Tuesday issued summons to Bharti Airtel chairman Sunil Bharti Mittal, Essar Group promoter Ravi Ruia and former Hutchison Max telecom MD Asim Ghosh.
The court's move came a week after CBI informed the court that it had been "unable to identify" company officials responsible for the alleged conspiracy in the allotment of additional spectrum to the three firms over a decade ago.
Special CBI judge O P Saini said that since these officials "were/are prima facie in control of affairs of the respective companies" and therefore "represented the directing mind and will of each company", they could be held accountable for the actions of their companies.
The court also took cognisance of the chargesheet filed by CBI on December 21. The chargesheet names former telecom secretary Shyamal Ghosh, Bharti Airtel, Hutchison Max (now Vodafone India Ltd) and Sterling Cellular (now Vodafone Mobile Services) as accused in the conspiracy to allot additional spectrum to the companies at lower rates, causing a loss of over Rs 846 crore to the government.
The 57-page chargesheet had, however, failed to name any officials of the three companies even though it had alleged that "investigations had revealed that various directors, promoters and representatives of the telecom companies had been meeting the accused public servants in connection with getting allocation of the additional spectrum".
The court had on two occasions asked the agency to identify company officials responsible, but the CBI had said it had not been able to identify any officials despite its best efforts. An NGO, Telecom Watchdog, had also filed an application demanding a probe into the conduct of the CBI, alleging that the investigation agency was deliberately "shielding" Mittal and had therefore "dropped his name" from the chargesheet despite evidence against him.
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