CBI gets SC nod for chargesheets in 2G allocations during NDA rule

Clearing the deck for the CBI's first chargesheet relating to spectrum allocation in the BJP-led NDA regime, the Supreme Court on Thursday directed the CBI to proceed as per the views of its outgoing director to prosecute telecom companies, their officials and public servants on the allocation of excess 2G spectrum when the late Pramod Mahajan was the Telecom Minister.

The court's sanction pertains to the FIR lodged by the CBI last year against the then telecom secretary Shyamal Ghosh, deputy director general (Value Added Services) J R Gupta, unnamed officials of Bharti Cellular (now Bharti Airtel) and Hutchison Max and Sterling Cellular (now Vodafone Essar).

The court gave its nod to the CBI to go ahead after perusing the documents presented in a sealed cover containing the opinion of the Attorney General (A-G).

The A-G was asked for his opinion after the CBI Director and Director, Prosecution, had a difference of opinion over prosecution of companies and persons in the cases of excess spectrum allocation. According to sources, the A-G, in his opinion, favoured a re-examination of the issue by the CBI.

According to NGO 'CPIL', the CBI, while investigating spectrum scam in the period 2001 to 2007, allegedly found Rs 508.22 crore loss to the government with "active role played by Sunil Bharti Mittal of Bharti Airtel in connivance with the then telecom minister late Pramod Mahajan and Shyamal Ghosh, secretary telecom (retired)".

The CBI had been asked by the court on the last date to apprise it of their future course of action in the impugned FIR after procuring an opinion by Attorney General GE Vahanvati on the question if Sunil Bharti Mittal should also be chargesheeted for his alleged role in the 2G case.

Senior counsel KK Venugopal appearing for the CBI handed over a sealed envelope to the bench and preferred not to read out its contents in the open court. The bench, however, told the probe agency to go ahead with the opinion of its director.

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