Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Govt’s decision on 2G spectrum licences depends on SC verdict

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday said its final verdict would determine the efficacy of the government's move to penalise companies for failure to roll out mobile phone services in breach of 2G spectrum allotment licence conditions.
Any step taken by the government with regard to licences granted during the allotment of 2G spectrum in 2008 would be subject to final orders of the court, said a Bench comprising Justices G S Singhvi and A K Ganguly.
This order was passed after petitioner NGO Centre for Public Interest Litigation' through counsel Prashant Bhushan requested the court to stay the department of telecom from levying penalty on defaulting firms, which he alleged amounted to compunding the violation of agreements and regularising the licences issued through an irregular process during A Raja's tenure as telecom minister.
The court also refused to pass any interim order on the NGO's plea for cancellation of all 122 allotments made during Raja's tenure and for their fresh auction. "We cannot cancel the licences without hearing the affected parties and just on the basis of Comptroller and Auditor General's report," it said.
The CAG, which did a performance audit of the DoT, had pegged the estimated losses because of irregular allotment of 2G spectrum at Rs 1,76,000 crore, a figure termed "utterly erroneous" by telecom minister Kapil Sibal.
The court adjourned hearing on the matter to March 1 and issued notice to the Centre on a fresh application from the NGO, which sought a transparent public auction system for all future allotment of lease or licence rights for exploitation of natural resources.

CBI grills Raja’s brother

New Delhi: The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Tuesday grilled former telecom minister A Raja's brother Andimuthu Kaliaperumal in connection with the 2G spectrum scam. Raja's brother came to CBI headquarters around 11.30 am and was questioned till 6 pm by the investigation agency on investments made by him and Raja in Tamil Nadu and Delhi. The agency is in the process of questioning everyone in the case whose premises were searched by it in connection with investigations into the scam.
The agency had questioned Raja on Monday for over eight hours. Sources said he was questioned on certain financial transactions and his dealings with certain firms. The agency will soon file the investigation report in the case and sources said there would be arrests soon. Kaliaperumal's house was searched by CBI on December 15 during raids at 34 places in Delhi and Tamil Nadu.

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