Department of Telecommunication (DoT) yesterday sought six weeks from a special court to file its response on a plea by Loop Telecom Ltd, facing trial in a case relating to the probe into the 2G spectrum allocation scam, for referring the matter to the Lok Adalat. Also Read - Let our firms take part in 5G trials, China tells India
A DoT official, who appeared in the court, told Special CBI Judge O P Saini that he has got an instruction from the department to seek time to file reply which was scheduled to be furnished today. The court told the department that it would not grant six weeks time to file the reply as the matter was pending for a long time. “DoT seeks time to file reply. Reluctantly allowed. Put up for reply, if any, of DoT on February 18,” the court said. Also Read - DoT permits telecom service providers to go ahead with 5G trials
Loop Telecom Ltd is facing trial in a case along with promoters of Essar Group, Ravi Ruia and Anshuman Ruia, and Loop promoters Kiran Khaitan, her husband I P Khaitan and Essar Group Director (Strategy and Planning) Vikash Saraf. Besides them, two other telecom companies — Loop Mobile India Ltd and Essar Tele Holding Ltd — are also facing trial in the case. All of them have denied charges levelled by CBI. Also Read - Coronavirus: Telecom operators urge DoT to offer free access to critical sites
CBI had earlier opposed the plea filed by Loop Telecom Ltd saying it should be dismissed as their application was not legally maintainable and the firm was trying to get the court’s last year’s order, dismissing a similar petition filed by the accused, “reviewed”. The court, on March 27 last year, had dismissed a plea by Loop Telecom Ltd seeking directions for referring the case to Lok Adalat, observing that prima facie there were “no chances of settlement” and the case had “wider ramifications”. Lok Adalat is an alternative dispute resolution mechanism by which the parties involved in civil and compoundable criminal cases try to arrive at a compromise to settle their case.
The court had earlier fixed March 3 for hearing the final arguments in the case, in which it had concluded recording of defence evidence in September last year. On May 25, 2012, the court had framed charges against all the accused under section 120-B (criminal conspiracy) read with section 420 (cheating) of the IPC, while the charge of cheating was made out only against Saraf. During the recording of prosecution evidence in the case which had commenced on July 26, 2012, the court had recorded statements of 95 CBI witnesses, running into 1,056 pages, while the accused had examined 12 witnesses in their defence.
CBI had chargesheeted the accused on December 12, 2011, alleging they had cheated the DoT by using Loop Telecom as a “front” to secure 2G licences in 2008.