The Supreme Court on Tuesday dismissed Essar Teleholding Ltd’s plea seeking a joint trial in the 2G spectrum case.
A three-judge bench comprising chief justice H. L. Dattu and justices A. K. Sikri and Rohinton F. Nariman dismissed Essar’s plea.
Essar had been seeking to “assimilate” the trial of former telecom minister A. Raja, Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) MP K. Kanimozhi and others, and the one against itself, which would have required the trial to begin again.
Raja and Kanimozhi are facing charges of criminal conspiracy, cheating, forgery, faking documents, abusing official position, criminal misconduct by a public servant and taking bribes—offences which are covered by the Prevention of Corruption Act and the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
Essar’s plea arises from a supplementary chargesheet filed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in 2011 against Essar, its promoters Ravi Ruia and Anshuman Ruia, and Loop Telecom Ltd, among others, for criminal conspiracy and cheating. Special judge O.P. Saini, trying the accused in the 2G cases, took cognisance of the chargesheet in December 2011.
Essar, along with promoters Ravi Ruia and Anshuman Ruia, had challenged the jurisdiction of the special 2G court which is trying the criminal cases arising out of the 2008 spectrum allocations.
They had contended that their case would have to go before a magistrate. In the alternative, they’d sought to be tried with Raja and the others.
The Supreme Court’s decision to dismiss its plea would mean that Essar will have to argue its case before the special 2G court, with a chance to appeal against the decision of the trial court.
The apex court had reserved its verdict in this case last week after hearing Essar and the CBI.
The CBI had opposed Essar’s plea saying that it was a means to scuttle the trial, which was at an advanced stage.
The CBI has concluded arguments before special judge Bharat Parashar in the case against Raja and Kanimozhi as well as the Essar-Loop case.