The Delhi High Court on Thursday deferred till January 10 hearing on the pleas of Essar Teleholdings Ltd. and Loop Telecom Ltd., facing charges of cheating and criminal conspiracy in 2G spectrum case, against their trial by the CBI court.

The pleas of the two firms that they cannot be tried by the special CBI court as they were not charged with any offence under the Prevention of Corruption Act, could not be heard today as the bench slated to hear them did not sit today.

A bench of justices Badar Durrez Ahmed and V.K. Jain will now take up the matter on January 10.

Indicted by the CBI in its third charge sheet in the 2G case for cheating and criminal conspiracy, the two telecom firms have contended in their pleas to the High Court that Special CBI Judge O.P. Saini was empowered to hear only the cases lodged under the provisions of the PC Act.

Earlier, the Special CBI court had taken cognisance of the third charge sheet and asked the promoters of Essar group and Loop Telecom to appear before it on January 27.

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 PC Act.

Besides the two companies, which have approached the high court, the other accused named in the third charge sheet are 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.

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