2G spectrum case: CBI files charge sheet against Airtel, Vodafone
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) yesterday filed a chargesheet against mobile service firms Bharti Airtel, Vodafone India Ltd., and Hutchison Max Sterling for getting excess 2G spectrum in allocation during NDA regime.
The CBI named former telecommunications secretary Shyamal Ghosh and the three telecom firms as accused in the chargesheet for criminal conspiracy and under provisions of Prevention of Corruption Act.
The Supreme Court on Nov 29 directed the CBI to prosecute telecom firms and people behind allocation of 2G spectrum during the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) regime after Attorney General GE Vahanvati gave his opinion on the alleged irregularities in awarding extra spectrum to these companies during the tenure of the then communications minister Pramod Mahajan. The agency, in its first information report (FIR), had alleged the companies had entered into a criminal conspiracy which resulted in a loss of over Rs 500 crore to the state exchequer. Both the companies have, however, refuted any wrongdoing in the case.
The CBI also alleged the telecom department had increased the base spectrum for telecom companies from 4.4 MhZ to 6.2 MhZ during Mahajan's tenure (2001-2003) and also allocated extra spectrum on subscriber-based criteria.
Rs 500 cr
The amount of loss to the exchequer that allegedly resulted out of a criminal conspiracy by the telecom companies