2G: SC judge withdraws from hearing on Mittal, Ruia pleas

New Delhi, April 18 (IANS) Supreme Court’s Justice Anil R. Dave Thursday recused himself from the hearing on pleas of Bharti Airtel’ Sunil Mittal and Essar Group’s Ravi Ruia who have challenged the summons issued to them by the 2G case trial court.

Another apex court judge had withdrawn from the hearing April 15.

As the apex court bench of Chief Justice Altamas Kabir and Justice Anil R. Dave took up the matter for hearing, Chief Justice Kabir said that no order could be passed as Justice Dave had recused himself from hearing the matter.

Chief Justice Kabir said he will decide which bench will hear the matter.

The 2G case trial court of Special Judge O.P. Saini had summoned the two business tycoons in a case relating to alleged irregularities in the allocation of 2G spectrum.

The trial court earlier gave Mittal and Ruia a breather till April 22, so that the apex court could take a decision on their petitions. The two have also furnished separate personal bonds in the trial court.

On April 15, apex court’s Justice Vikramajit Sen recused himself from hearing the matter.

Initially the matter was being heard by a bench comprising the Chief Justice Kabir, Justice Dave and Justice Sen. On Thursday, the matter was listed for hearing before the bench of Chief Justice Kabir and Justice Dave.

As the chief justice announced in the court Justice Dave’s decision to recuse himself from the hearing, Central Bureau of Investigation’s senior counsel K.K. Venugopal said the matter should be heard by the bench presided over by Justice G.S. Singhvi which was monitoring the whole case.

The trial court March 19 summoned Mittal, Ruia and five others to appear before it in connection with alleged excess spectrum allocation to telecom companies in 2002.

The trial court issued summons after taking cognizance of the chargesheet filed against Bharti Airtel, Vodafone and Sterling Cellular for the alleged irregularities.

On Dec 21 last year, the CBI named the three telecom firms and others and charged them with criminal conspiracy and offences under the Prevention of Corruption Act for causing a loss of about Rs.846 crore to the exchequer.

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