2002 additional spectrum case: Special 2G court discharges former Telecom Secretary Shyamal Ghosh Business News

shutterstock_134257640

In an embarassment to CBI, a special 2G court on Thursday discharged ex-Telecom Secretary Shyamal Ghosh and three telecom firms chargesheeted in the 2002 additional spectrum scam case, saying the agency had filed a "false and fabricated" charge sheet against the accused. Special CBI Judge O P Saini observed that CBI tried to mislead the court and the charge sheet filed by it was full of "distorted facts". The court asked the CBI Director to conduct an inquiry against the "erring officials" fo

"I am reading out the last paragraph of the order. It's a false and fabricated charge sheet and there is no incriminating evidence against any of the accused so they are discharged. The charge sheet is full of distorted facts and an attempt has been made to mislead the court," the judge said. The "CBI Director is directed to make an inquiry against erring officials", the court said. Ghosh and three telecom firms -- Hutchison Max(P) Ltd, Sterling Cellular Ltd and Bharti Cellular Ltd -- were chargesheeted in the case relating to Department of Telecommunications (DoT) allocating additional spectrum that had allegedly led to a loss of Rs 846.44 crore to the exchequer. The court had on August 31 reserved its order after hearing arguments on framing of charges. Ghosh, a 1965-batch retired IAS officer, was the Telecom Secretary between February 7, 2000 and May 31, 2002. CBI had earlier argued that Ghosh had given additional spectrum to the telecom companies at "throwaway prices" causing a huge loss to the exchequer. Ghosh had countered CBI's arguments saying private firms were not the only beneficiaries of surplus radio waves, but state-run MTNL and BSNL had also benefited. He had contended that it cannot be said that allocation was done primarily to benefit private companies and asserted that he had not abused his official position in any manner. Similarly, the accused firms had also countered CBI's loss to the exchequer theory, saying they were allotted "spare radio waves" which would have caused gain to the government. In its charge sheet, CBI had alleged that Ghosh had "deliberately" and with "malafide intention" not obtained comments of then Member (Finance) of DoT on the issue despite the matter involving huge "financial implications". All the accused were chargesheeted for the alleged offence of criminal conspiracy (section 120-B) of the IPC and under provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act.

Read more