Five persons, including two members of the family that controls multi-billion dollar conglomerate Essar Group, and three telecom companies who were charge-sheeted on December 12 last by the Central Bureau of Investigation in the 2G spectrum scam case are scheduled to appear before the special court hearing the case on Friday.

While taking cognisance of the CBI's second supplementary charge sheet in the case on December 21, Special Judge O. P. Saini had issued summons to Essar Group promoters Ravikant and Anshuman Ruia, Loop Telecom promoters Kiran and I. P. Khaitan, and Essar Group Director (Strategy and Planning) Vikash Saraf, besides three telecom companies — Loop Telecom Private Limited, Loop Mobile India Limited, and Essar TeleHoldings Limited — to appear in court on January 27 to answer the charges brought against them by the CBI.

The CBI has charged all the eight accused with criminal conspiracy (Indian Penal Code Section 120B) to cheat (IPC Section 420) the Department of Telecommunications by setting up Loop Telecom as a front company in violation of existing norms, to illegally obtain additional spectrum, despite having substantial stake in Vodafone Essar. In a statement, the Essar Group has denied all charges.

Clause-8 of the DoT's Unified Access Service Licence (UASL) guidelines prevents existing UAS licence holding promoter companies from owning over 10 per cent equity holding in another licencee company in the same service area.

The accused persons had challenged the special court order in the Delhi High Court arguing that Mr. Saini could not hear the charges against them as they had not been charge-sheeted under the Prevention of Corruption Act. They had contended that the charges against them were triable by the court of a Metropolitan Magistrate court. But the High Court on January 24 directed the appellants to approach the Supreme Court to seek clarification on whether the High Court could hear the matter challenging the special court's order.

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