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CBI awaits AG's advice on Airtel, Vodafone case

Published: 05th November 2012 06:23 PM  |   Last Updated: 05th November 2012 06:24 PM   |  A+A-

Vodafone_b_EPS

EPS file photo

By PTI

CBI is still awaiting advice of the Attorney General in the case of alleged irregularities in awarding extra spectrum to Airtel and Vodafone after difference in opinion over whether a case against the telecom giants was made out or not.

While a group of officials believed a case against the two telecom companies was made out as they were only beneficiaries of the laid down policy, another team of officials involved in decision-making differed, official sources said today.

The matter, therefore, was referred to the Attorney General for his opinion who is yet to give any opinion, the sources said, adding CBI would file a charge sheet in the case only after getting the opinion of the top law officer of the government.

The agency, in its FIR, had alleged the two companies had entered into a criminal conspiracy which resulted in a loss of over Rs 500 crore to the state exchequer.

CBI had registered a case against the then Telecom Secretary Shyamal Ghosh and Deputy Director General (Value Added Services) J R Gupta and unnamed officials of Bharti Cellular (now known as Bharti Airtel), and Hutchinson Max and Sterling Cellular (now known as Vodafone Essar) last November.

The agency had alleged the Telecom department had increased the base spectrum for telecom companies from 4.4 MhZ to 6.2 MhZ during Pramod Mahajan's tenure as Telecom Minister from 2001 to 2003 and also allocated extra spectrum on subscriber-based criteria.

The case was registered under 120-B (criminal conspiracy) and various sections of the Prevention of Corruption Act.

"The then Minister for Telecom and Communication (Pramod Mahajan) has been excluded since he expired," CBI had said but alleged he was a part of a criminal conspiracy to allocate the additional spectrum in a "hurried" manner.

The late BJP leader was the Telecom Minister during 2001-03.

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