2G: Bail granted to Essar, Loop Promoters

New Delhi: Promoters of Essar Group and Loop Telecom were today granted bail by a Delhi court in connection with a case arising out of the 2G spectrum allocation scam.

Essar group promoters Ravi Ruia and Anshuman Ruia and Loop Telecom promoters I P Khaitan and Kiran Khaitan, besides Essar group Director (Strategy and Planning) Vikash Saraf were directed by the court to furnish personal bail bond of Rs five lakh each and two sureities of like amount.

Special Judge O P Saini also fixed July 26 to commence the trial against them by framing charges of conspiracy to cheat the government.

While the court said that all the accused were charged with the offence under Section 120 B (criminal conspiracy) read with Section 420 (cheating) of IPC, substantial charge of cheating was made out against Saraf. "You all committed an offence punishable under Section 120 B read with 420 IPC and within my cognizance," the judge said.

"Secondly during the said period, you accused Vikas Saraf got false representations made to the DoT officials through your subordinates/employees to the effect that the applicant company was in compliance of clause 8 of UASL guidelines and misled/cheated them into believing so and issuing LoIs, signing of UAS licences and allocation of spectrum and thereby you committed an offence punishable under section 420 IPC and within my cognisance," the judge added.

The court on May 11 had reserved the order on the framing of charges against the eight accused, including three companies- Loop Telecom Pvt Ltd, Loop Mobile India Ltd and Essar Teleholdings Ltd.

CBI had filed the chargesheet against them on December 12 last year following its probe into the 2G spectrum allocation scam during the tenure of former Telecom Minister A Raja. Essar had denied any involvement in the 2G spectrum scam.

During the arguments on framing of charges, the CBI had said that Loop Telecom played "hide and seek" with Department of Telecom (DoT) and concealed information from it regarding their relationship with Essar Group.

The agency had said that promoters of Essar Group and Loop Telecom had deliberately violated the Unified Access Services Licences (UASL) guidelines by making "false and dishonest impression" before the DoT to get the 2G spectrum.

During the arguments earlier, promoters of Essar Group and Loop Telecom had opposed the framing of charges against them, contending that no criminality could be attached to them and no offence of cheating is made out against them as government had not found any irregularity and illegality in granting the 2G licences to Loop Telecom, as alleged by the CBI.

Essar Teleholdings Ltd had said that the case against them is not a 2G related case as they have not been charged under the Prevention of Corruption Act and no government officials are involved in it.