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Policy & Regulation
Extra spectrum: SC gives nod to CBI to prosecute Airtel, Vodafone
TT Correspondent |  |  30 Nov 2012

The CBI on Thursday got the nod from the Supreme Court to chargesheet telcos like Airtel, and Vodafone for alleged allocation of extra spectrum during NDA rule when telecom ministry was headed by Pramod Mahajan.

The apex court has also directed the CBI to prosecute the officials of these companies and the government officials in the case.  They include Telecom Secretary Shyamal Ghosh and Deputy Director General (Value Added Services) J R Gupta and some officials of Bharti Cellular (now known as Bharti Airtel)  Hutchinson Max and Sterling Cellular (now known as Vodafone Essar). The FIR was filed against them in November 2011.

The CBI could not file a chargesheet against them because of the differing views within the agency.

The CBI director and the agency's director of prosecution were believed to have had taken different stands over prosecution against Bharti Airtel and its chairman, Vodafone and the former telecom secretary. After that matter was referred to the AG for his opinion.

A bench comprising justices G S Singhvi and K S Radhakrishnan perused the report and directed the CBI to go ahead with the prosecution. 

“We are of the opinion that CBI will take action in accordance with the view expressed by CBI Director against some persons and companies," the bench said.It said that the CBI director is the highest authority within the organization and he had taken a particular view. Since he is the final authority, the agency should take action as per his view."

In November 2011 the CBI had alleged that Mahajan had allocated spectrum beyond the prescribed limit to certain companies. It had alleged that the Department of

Telecom had increased the base spectrum for telecom companies from 4.4 MHz to 6.2 MHz during Mahajan's tenure from 2001 to 2003 and also allocated extra spectrum on subscriber-based criteria.

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30 Nov 2012(IST)  
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