2G court raps CBI, says charge sheet ‘false and fabricated’

A special 2G court on Thursday discharged a former telecom secretary and three telecom companies in the 2002 additional spectrum scam case saying the chargesheet filed by the CBI was “false and fabricated.”

Special CBI Judge OP Saini observed that the premier investigating agency tried to mislead the court and that its chargesheet was full of “distorted facts”

The court asked the CBI director to conduct an inquiry against the “erring officials” for filing such a chargesheet in the case.

“I am reading out the last paragraph of the order. It’s a false and fabricated chargesheet and there is no incriminating evidence against any of the accused so they are discharged. The chargesheet 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.

Former telecom secretary Shyamal 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.

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.

The court had on August 31 reserved orders after hearing arguments on framing of charges as well as Ghosh’s bail plea.

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 benefitted.

He had claimed that it cannot be said 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 theory, saying they were allotted “spare radio waves” which would have caused gain to the government.

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