Telecom czar Sunil Bharti Mittal was on Tuesday summoned as an accused by the special court hearing 2G spectrum scam cases to face charges in an alleged conspiracy — dating back to the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance regime
Telecom czar Sunil Bharti Mittal was on Tuesday summoned as an accused by the special court hearing 2G spectrum scam cases to face charges in an alleged conspiracy — dating back to the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance regime — which caused the government an alleged loss of Rs. 846.44 crore.
Interestingly, the CBI did not indict Mr. Mittal, chairman of Bharti Airtel Limited, India’s largest mobile service provider, when the charge sheet was filed on December 21 last.
The then Telecom Minister Pramod Mahajan, the then Telecom Secretary Shyamal Ghosh and three telecom companies — Bharti Cellular Limited (now Bharti Airtel Limited), Hutchison Max Private Limited Mumbai (Vodafone India) and Sterling Cellular Limited (Vodafone Mobile Services Limited) — were named conspirators in the charge sheet.
Mahajan, who died in 2006, was not named as an accused. The CBI alleged that Mr. Ghosh abused his official position and showed an undue favour, which caused the Rs.846.44-crore loss to the exchequer and corresponding undue gain to the three companies and an “incidental” gain to other telecom firms which were not part of the conspiracy.
Reason for loss
The agency said the loss was caused by charging just an additional one per cent of Adjusted Gross Revenue (AGR), rather than the required additional two per cent for allocation of additional spectrum from 6.2 MHz up to 10 MHz. The AGR is used to calculate the share from a telecom operator’s revenues earned annually to be paid to the government.
The CBI had told the court that it could not identify the private persons behind these three companies despite its best efforts. No resolution was passed by these companies for applying for additional spectrum, the agency said.
In his order, Special Judge O. P. Saini said: “On perusal of the record, I am satisfied that there is enough incriminating material on record to proceed against the accused persons. I also find that at the relevant time, Sunil Bharti Mittal was chairman-cum-managing director of Bharti Cellular Limited, Asim Ghosh was managing director of Hutchison Max and Ravi Ruia was a director in Sterling Cellular, who used to chair board meetings.”
In that capacity, “they were/are, prima facie, in control of the affairs of the companies. As such, they represent the directing mind and will of each company and their state of mind is the state of mind of the companies. They are/were the ‘alter ego’ of their companies. In this fact[ual] situation, the acts of the companies are to be attributed and imputed to them [Mittal, Ghosh and Ruia]. Consequently, I find enough material on record to proceed against them also. Accordingly, I take cognisance of the case. Issue summons to all the seven accused for April 11.”