SC issues notice to CBI on summons to Mittal, Ruia

New Delhi, April 26 (IANS) The Supreme Court Friday issued notice to the CBI on a plea by Sunil Mittal of Bharti Airtel and Ravikant Ruia of Essar challenging their being summoned before a special court hearing the case relating to the allocation of 2G spectrum in 2002.

A bench of Chief Justice Altamas Kabir, Justice Surinder Singh Nijjar and Justice Pinaki Chandra Ghosh, while issuing the notice, asked the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to file its reply in four weeks’ time and gave another three weeks to Mittal and Ruia to file their rejoinder to probe agency’s reply. Senior counsel Fali Nariman had urged the court to issue notice.

The court also asked the 2G special court to defer the hearing of the matter till then.

The 2G special court presided over by Additional Session Judge O.P. Saini had summoned Mittal and Ruia, along with five others, in connection with the allocation of excess spectrum during the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) regime in 2002.

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

On Dec 21 last year, the CBI named a bureaucrat and the three telecom firms as accused in the 57-page charge sheet for criminal conspiracy as also under the provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act for causing a loss of about Rs.846 crore to the exchequer.

It has been contended by Mittal and Ruia that the order of the 2G special court trying the 2G cases was contrary to the judgments of the apex court and the alleged wrong doings of the companies could not visit them.

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