Info-tech

2G roll out failure: Apex court issues notice to Centre, 11 cos

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on January 23, 2011 Published on January 10, 2011




The Supreme Court on Monday issued notice to the Centre and 11 companies on a petition seeking the cancellation of 2G spectrum licences allotted to these firms alleging that they had failed to fulfil the roll-out obligations.

The Telecom Department and the companies – Loop Telecom, Etisalat DB, Vodafone-Essar, S-Tel, Unitech wireless, Videocon, Idea Cellular, Allianz Infra, Tata Teleservices, Sistema Shyam Teleservices and Dishnet wireless – have been asked to file their replies in three weeks.

The Court also wanted to know why the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) had been silent for over a year on the alleged delay by the companies in fulfilling the roll-out obligations. It made TRAI a party (respondent) in the petition.

The matter will come up for hearing again on February 1.

On the Telecom Minister, Mr Kapil Sibal's statement that the 2G spectrum allocation did not cause any loss to exchequer and that the Rs 1.76-lakh-crore loss mentioned in the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report was incorrect, the Court said it cannot take cognisance of it as the same was not part of the court record.

The Court also said that it was for the Centre to furnish its version on the actual loss to the exchequer, adding that the amount of losses to the exchequer has become a debatable issue.

The court heard the petition filed by the Janata Party President, Dr Subramanian Swamy, who also wanted identical directions as the CPIL petition, besides seeking to restrain Mr Sibal from further dealing with the 2G issue and for suo motu notice to be taken of Mr Sibal's “contempt of court.”

It will take up Dr Swamy's plea along with the petition filed by NGO Centre for Public Interest Litigation and civil societies.

The petitions alleged that there were irregularities and corruption in the 2G spectrum allocation during the tenure of the then Telecom Minister, Mr A. Raja.

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Published on January 10, 2011
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