‘The guidelines disqualified Loop from applying for UAS licences'

The arguments on framing of charges against Essar Group promoters Ravikant and Anshuman Ruia and Loop Telecom promoters Kiran and I.P. Khaitan in the 2G spectrum scam case commenced on Thursday with the CBI stating that the accused deliberately violated Telecom Department guidelines disqualifying Loop Telecom from applying for United Access Service licences (UASL).

Special Public Prosecutor U.U. Lalit explained to Special Judge O.P. Saini the complex web of transactions that Essar Group used to disguise its significant holding in Loop Telecom before the Department of Telecommunications.

Besides the Ruias and the Khaitans, Essar Group director (Strategy and Planning) Vikash Saraf, and three telecom companies — Loop Telecom, Essar Teleholdings Limited and Loop Mobile India — were also charge-sheeted for criminal conspiracy (Section 120B) to cheat (Section 420) the DoT.

The CBI charge sheet alleged that the accused violated Clause 8 of the DoT's UASL Guidelines, which prevents existing UASL-holding promoter companies from owning over 10 per cent equity holding in another licensee company in the same service area.

“The basic case of the prosecution [the CBI] is that they [the accused] have violated Clause 8 of the UASL guidelines and the false and dishonest impression [made by them] is the crux of the matter,” Mr. Lalit told Mr. Saini.

Mr. Lalit said the case of the prosecution was that the UASL guidelines, which were inserted to prevent cartelisation and to foster healthy competition were “violated deliberately” by the accused.

The CBI will continue its arguments on Friday.

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