The special CBI court on Friday granted bail to the promoters of Loop Telecom and Essar Group Ravi Ruia, Anshuman Ruia, Kiran Khaitan and I. P. Khaitan and fifth accused Vikash Saraf.
Meanwhile CBI framed charges against them. All the five accused including three telecom companies Loop Telecom, Loop Mobile India, and Essar Teleholdings denied charges and pleaded not guilty.
The CBI has accused Loop and Essar promoters of criminal conspiracy (Section 120B IPC) to cheat (Section 420 IPC) the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) which believed the Loop Telecom claim that it met the eligibility conditions under Clause 8 of the UAS licence guidelines and, therefore, issued it Letters of Intent, UAS licences and spectrum.
Vikash Saraf has been additionally charged with cheating (Section 420 IPC) in getting “false representations made to DoT officials” through his subordinates/employees certifying that the company was in compliance with Clause 8.
“That during the period July 23, 2007, to March 9, 2009, you all entered into an agreement at New Delhi, Mumbai and other unknown places, to do an illegal act or an act which was not illegal, namely, to cheat the DoT, into issuing 21 Letters of Intent, UAS licences for as many telecom circles and also valuable spectrum and in pursuance to the conspiracy, you concealed, behind a complex corporate veil, the actual stakeholders of Loop Telecom Ltd,” the Judge said.
Early this month CBI had told a Delhi court that promoters of Essar Group and Loop Telecom resorted to false and dishonest impression to procure 2G spectrum thereby violating Unified Access Services Licences (UASL) guidelines.
"The basic case of the prosecution (CBI) is that they (accused) have violated clause 8 of the UASL guidelines and false and dishonest impression (made by them) is the crux of the matter," Special public prosecutor UU Lalit had told designated CBI Judge O P Saini.
Seeking bail for Loop Telecom promoters I P Khaitan and Kiran Khaitan, Senior advocate Parag Tripathi has said that allegation of benami transaction against them cannot be substantiated as the funds transferred between them and Essar Group were duly recorded and audited.
"The very foundation is based on ambiguity in clause 8 of the UASL guidelines. The clause is ambiguous and this is clear from the government's stand as it has not come forward as the complainant in the case," he had told Special CBI Judge O P Saini.
"The fact that the government has not come forward as a complainant, it is clear that there is ambiguity in clause 8 of the UASL guidelines," Tripathi had said while opposing framing of charges against his clients.