Supreme Court refuses to stay trial of 2G cases

New Delhi : The Supreme Court Wednesday declined a plea by mobile phone service providers and other corporate honchos to stay the trial of 2G cases before the Special CBI Court which is hearing the matter on a day-to-day basis.

“What we have not done earlier we won’t do now,” said the bench of Justice H.L. Dattu and Justice S.A. Bobde, as senior counsel Ram Jethmalani and other lawyers for the telecom companies and other accused sought a stay of the proceedings.

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Jethmalani urged that the trial be put on hold as the apex court had said it would hear Oct 29 the petitions by Reliance Telecom, Essar Teleholdings and other accused seeking the quashing of charges against them by the 2G court.

Summing up the matters, the senior counsel said clause 8 of the guidelines issued by the government said an applicant should not have more than 10 percent in the company of other service provider only at the time of getting the licence and not at the stage of making the application for a licence.

He said the investigating agency, while proceeding against the telecom service providers and other related to it, overlooked this distinction.

The senior counsel told the court that the investigating agency itself said cases against the service providers were not covered under the Prevention of Corruption Act but their conduct amounted to cheating the government.

Senior counsel Harish Salve said in such a situation the matter should have gone to the other court and not remained with the 2G court set up to hear cases involving the Prevention of Corruption Act.

The court was told that despite this distinction the 2G court was continuing with the hearing, citing the notification by which it was set up in pursuance to the apex court order cancelling the 122 2G licences Feb 2, 2012.

Appearing for the CBI, senior counsel K.K. Venugopal told the court that all issues being raised had been addressed by the court in its earlier judgment. He said at the hearing he would like to raise his preliminary points on the issues being raised before the court.

The court adjourned the hearing as Special Public Prosecutor Anand Grover, who too has to address the court on these issues, said he has yet to go through the papers that were delivered at his office only Tuesday evening.

“I want to be candid that I have not even opened the papers delivered to me by the CBI,” he said.

The apex court had appointed Grover as Special Public Prosecutor Sep 2 after his predecessor U.U. Lalit was named a judge of the apex court.

The court will hold Oct 29 a hearing on the pleas by DMK leader Kanimozhi Karunanidhi, Reliance Telecom and its senior executives seeking the quashing of charges against them. It will also hear a plea by Essar Teleholdings and its executives.