New Delhi, Dec 21: The promoters of Essar Group and Loop Telecom were among the five persons who were directed to appear on January 27 before a Delhi Court which today took cognizance of the CBI charge sheet arising out of the probe in the 2G scam case against them.
“I have carefully gone through the copy of the FIR, supplementary charge sheet, statement of witnesses and related documents. On the basis of material on record, I am satisfied there is enough incriminating material on record to proceed against the accused,” Special CBI Judge O P Saini said.
Essar group promoters Anshuman and Ravi Ruia along with Loop Telecom promoters Kiran Khaitan, her husband I P Khaitan and Essar Group director (Strategy and Planning) Vikash Saraf and three companies—Loop Telecom Pvt Ltd, Loop Mobile India Ltd and Essar Tele Holding—are named as accused in the third charge sheet.
The court said that the three companies will stand the trial either through their Directors or they will appoint their representatives for the purpose.
“Three companies be served through their directors and the companies may appoint authorised representatives for the purpose of trial,” the judge said while making it clear that though charges are not slapped under the Prevention of Corruption Act (PCA), the accused will face trial in the Designated court set up on the order of the Supreme Court.
However, Essar Group in a statement, expressed “surprise” that the special court has taken cognizance of the matter even though there is no charge of corruption made by the CBI.
The Group said it will take “further legal recourse to defend its position” as “it has been advised that the special court has no jurisdiction in matters where no corruption charges have been alleged”.
The judge said the accused, charged with offence of conspiracy and cheating under the IPC, will still have to stand the trial before the Designated Court in accordance with the March 28, 2011 notification by the Delhi Government setting up a special court to deal exclusively with cases pertaining to the 2G scam following the Supreme Court order.
The CBI, in its charge sheet filed on December 12, has accused the Essar and Loop promoters of conspiring to cheat the Department of Telecommunication (DoT) but has not found evidence to prosecute them under the PCA.
It said “investigation has not revealed evidence to prove mala-fide on the part of public servants in the matter.”
Essar Group, in a statement on December 12, had denied any involvement in the 2G scam and said it has complied in totality with all conditions of telecom licences. It claimed that the CBI has confirmed that Essar was not involved in the 2G scam.
The CBI has said that the accused persons and companies created a “complex corporate veil” to cheat DoT by concealing that Essar, an existing telecom operator having substantial shares in Vodafone (then Hutch), was having more than 10 per cent stake in Loop Telecom.
Special Public Prosecutor U U Lalit had said UAS Licence guidelines bar an existing telecom operator from holding 10 per cent or more equity in another telecom company in same circle and, therefore, Loop was ineligible for the licences as it was an “alter ego of Essar which is an existing operator”.
CBI had said the probe revealed that Loop was actually and completely controlled by Essar.