CBI charges Airtel, Vodafone, ex-telecom secy in 2002 case

Vodafone

The decision to allot additional spectrum was "taken in undue haste pursuant to the criminal conspiracy amongst public servant late Pramod Mahajan, then MoCIT, Shyamal Ghosh, secretary DoT, and the said accused telecom companies", the chargesheet has alleged. The CBI has said that the decision, which was taken on January 31, 2002, was finalised even before the joint testing report required in respect of congestion service quality in the network area was submitted on February 1, 2002.

The CBI also told the court that "various directors/promoters/representatives of the telecom companies had been meeting the accused public servants in connection with getting allocation of additional spectrum". But it does not name any official of these firms. The prosecutor told the court that the CBI had been unable to determine the names of the company representatives who were part of the alleged conspiracy. The companies will now have to be summoned to court.

At the time of the allotment, Bharti Airtel was named Bharti Cellular, Vodafone India was known as Hutchison Max and Vodafone Mobile was known as Sterling Cellular.

The CBI prosecutor told the court that while Ghosh had recommended the changes in spectrum allotment, Mahajan had ordered the allotment. Further, the prosecutor said that J R Gupta, former deputy director general, VAS cell of DoT and former director of BSNL, who was named in the FIR as an accused, has been made a witness. The 57-page chargesheet lists 73 witnesses and 131 documents in support of the alleged charges.

The chargesheet also alleges that the post of the administrator-UOSF (Universal Obligation Service Fund) was created for the benefit of Ghosh, "through the efforts of Pramod Mahajan" and that Mahajan had "abused his position" to get the approval of the then Prime Minister and the Cabinet Committee on Appointments to allow Ghosh to take up the post immediately after retiring as telecom secretary on May 30, 2002. Ghosh was in the post between June 2002 and May 2005.

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