Swan Telecom promoter Shahid Usman Balwa on Tuesday claimed innocence in court, saying he had no role in allotment of 2G spectrum to his firm at the cost of Tatas or anyone else.
It was the Department of Telecom which took all the decisions regarding the grant of licences to telecom firms and left out Tata, he told Special Judge OP Saini while advancing in person his arguments opposing corruption and other penal charges invoked by the CBI against him.
Refuting CBI allegations that he plotted with former telecom minister A Raja and others to pocket 2G spectrum licence in lucrative Delhi circle at the cost of the Tatas, Balwa pointed out that even today 12 MHz spectrum is available for allotment in the national capital circle.
"Even today 12 MHz of spectrum is available in the Delhi circle. What is stopping the Department of Telecom to allocate the spectrum to Tata in Delhi circle which needs only 4.4 MHz of spectrum here," Balwa contended.
"If at all anything is done, it has been done by the DoT and not by me. Why am I facing the criminal prosecution?," Balwa asked the court.
The real estate tycoon-turned-telecom czar told the court that it was in March 2007 that Raja got a report from the Wireless Planning and Coordination wing (WPC) saying no spectrum was available in Delhi circle.
"In November 2007, however, all of a sudden 15 MHz spectrum appeared in Delhi circle and nobody knew how did it appear," he said, adding that as per the DoT website, even today 12 MHz Spectrum is available in the Delhi circle.
Later resuming his argument for Balwa's discharge, his counsel Majeed Memon rubbished the CBI's claim that Delhi was the most lucrative telecommunication circle, arguing that the national capital circle was placed rather at the 5th place as per generation of revenue here.
"A false air was created that Delhi was the most lucrative circle and Swan Telecom pocketed it. Delhi is over exploited already and no wise person could run for the Delhi circle," Memon said.
CBI, in its charge sheet, has alleged that Balwa had conspired with Raja and other accused DoT officials for grant of 2G spectrum licence to Swan Telecom and Unitech wireless, which resulted in Tata getting elbowed out of the race for spectrum in the lucrative Delhi circle despite its higher position in priority list.
"Lot of noise is being made about alleged injustice to the Tatas but the important part of one of the pre-requisites to obtain licence was to obtain no-dues-certificate from the WPC as without a no-dues-certificate (NDC), one could not be entertained (for grant of licence)," Memon said.
"As per a TDSAT order, Tata Tele services was required to obtain a NDC from WPC before signing the licence agreement," he said.
"NDC was issued by WPC to Tata till February 27, 2008. It is only on February 27, 2008, that they received a no due certificate and made an amended application for licence on March 5, 2008," he added.
"Tatas themselves caused the delay by not obtaining a NDC for entire February and so their grievance cannot be attributed to me (Balwa)," he said.