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Law ministry report a problem for CBI

delhi Updated: Sep 30, 2011 00:25 IST
Sumit Saxena

The law ministry's report on the 2G spectrum issue has turned into a problem for the CBI. Telecom companies have repeatedly accused CBI of suppressing facts in its report, which is contrary to the agency's own stand in the scam.

Initially, CBI had hesitated in placing the law ministry's report on record.

But the counsels for the accused demanded the report be included for fair trial. Finally, Special Judge OP Saini ordered CBI to place the law ministry's report on record.

The counsel of Unitech Wireless, while concluding arguments on the law ministry's report, remarked: "As per Unified Access Services Licences (UASL) guidelines, the eligibility of a firm has to be determined on the date when the licence was granted. Even on the date of application for licences, Unitech had complied with UASL guidelines."

The Unitech counsel then cited the opinion of law and justice ministry - which was earlier conveyed to the department of telecom (DoT) - and said the company was eligible for UASL even at the time of applying.

Earlier, Reliance Telecom Ltd (RTL), an accused in the scam, had sought discharge from the case as the law ministry acquitted it, citing RTL's stake in the alleged beneficiary Swan Telecom was below 10%.

The CBI in its first charge-sheet had alleged that Unitech Wireless and Swan Telecom were ineligible from the time of applying for licences to grant of licences. It had started its probe on the basis that ineligible companies were given licences.

The law ministry in its report stated: "An applicant become a licensee company only on the date when the applicant signs the licence agreement with the government, and not before that date." The counsels of Unitech Wireless, Reliance Telecom and Swan Telecom emphasised on the above point, stating that their respective companies have not flouted the guidelines.