Corporate executives accused

Corporates named as accused in the chargesheet filed by CBI in the Special Court and charges framed against them by the Special court.[27][28][29][30]

Sanjay Chandra

  • Designation – Former MD, Unitech Wireless[27]
  • Charges – Criminal conspiracy to cause criminal breach of trust by a public servant, criminal conspiracy under section 120-B, cheating under section 420 & forgery under sections 468 and 471. Booked under the Prevention of Corruption Act[27]
  • Allegation – Ex-CBI prosecutor AK Singh was implicated in a taped conversation, sharing legal strategy and secret information with the accused, Chandra.[65][66]
  • Status – Taken into custody by CBI on 20 April 2011,[67][68] granted bail on 24 November 2011.[69] As of August 2012, trial is being conducted in Special CBI Court.[47]

Gautam Doshi

  • Designation – Group MD, Reliance Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group[27]
  • Charges – Criminal conspiracy to cause criminal breach of trust by a public servant, criminal conspiracy under section 120-B, cheating under section 420 & forgery under sections 468 and 471. Booked under the Prevention of Corruption Act[27]
  • Status – Taken into custody by CBI on 20 April 2011,[67] granted bail on 24 November 2011.[69] As of August 2012, trial is being conducted in Special CBI Court.[47]

Hari Nair

  • Designation – Senior vice-president, Reliance Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group[27]
  • Charges – Criminal conspiracy to cause criminal breach of trust by a public servant, criminal conspiracy under section 120-B, cheating under section 420 & forgery under sections 468 and 471. Booked under the Prevention of Corruption Act[27]
  • Status – Taken into custody by CBI on 20 April 2011,[67] granted bail on 24 November 2011.[69] As of August 2012, trial is being conducted in Special CBI Court.[47]

Surendra Pipara

  • Designation – Senior vice- President, Reliance Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group[27]
  • Charges – Criminal conspiracy to cause criminal breach of trust by a public servant, criminal conspiracy under section 120-B, cheating under section 420 & forgery under sections 468 and 471. Booked under the Prevention of Corruption Act[27]
  • Status – Taken into custody by CBI on 20 April 2011,[67] granted bail on 24 November 2011.[69] As of August 2012, trial is being conducted in Special CBI Court.[47]

Vinod Goenka

  • Designation – Promoter and managing director, DB Realty & Swan Telecom[27]
  • Charges – Criminal conspiracy to cause criminal breach of trust by a public servant, criminal conspiracy under section 120 B, cheating under section 420, forgery under sections 468 and 471, fabrication of evidence under section 193. Booked under the Prevention of Corruption Act[27]
  • Status – Taken into custody by CBI on 20 April 2011,[67] granted bail on 24 November 2011.[69] As of August 2012, trial is being conducted in Special CBI Court.[47]

Shahid Balwa

  • Designation – Promoter, DB Realty & Swan Telecom[27]
  • Charges – Criminal conspiracy to cause criminal breach of trust by a public servant Criminal conspiracy under section 120-B, cheating under section 420, forgery under sections 468 and 471 & fabrication of evidence under section 193. Booked under the Prevention of Corruption Act.[27]
  • Status – Taken into custody by CBI on 8 February 2011,[70] granted bail on 29 November 2011.[71] As of August 2012, trial is being conducted in Special CBI Court.[47]

Asif Balwa (younger brother of Shahid Balwa)

  • Designation – Director, Kusegaon Fruits and Vegetables[27]
  • Charges – Criminal conspiracy to cause criminal breach of trust by a public servant, criminal conspiracy under section 120-B, cheating under section 420, forgery under sections 468 and 471 & fabrication of evidence under section 193. Booked under Prevention of Corruption Act[27]
  • Status – Taken into custody by CBI on 29 March 2011,[72] granted bail on 28 November 2011.[73] As of August 2012, trial is being conducted in Special CBI Court.[47]

Rajiv Agarwal

  • Designation – Director, Kusegaon Fruits and Vegetables[27]
  • Charges – Criminal conspiracy to cause criminal breach of trust by a public servant, criminal conspiracy under section 120-B, cheating under section 420, forgery under sections 468 and 471, fabrication of evidence under section 193. Booked under Prevention of Corruption Act[27]
  • Status – Taken into custody by CBI on 29 March 2011,[72] granted bail on 28 November 2011.[73] As of August 2012, trial is being conducted in Special CBI Court.[47]

Sharath Kumar

  • Designation – managing director, Kalaignar TV[27]
  • Charges – Criminal conspiracy to cause criminal breach of trust by a public servant, criminal conspiracy under section 120-B, cheating under section 420, forgery under sections 468 and 471 & fabrication of evidence under section 193. Booked under Prevention of Corruption Act[27]
  • Status – Taken into custody by CBI on 20 May 2011,[74] granted bail on 28 November 2011.[75] As of August 2012, trial is being conducted in Special CBI Court.[47]

Ravi Ruia

  • Designation – Vice-chairman, Essar Group[76][77]
  • Charges – Criminal conspiracy under section 120 B & cheating under section 420 of Indian Penal Code.[76][77]
  • Status – Not taken into custody yet.[78] As of August 2012, trial is being conducted in Special CBI Court.[47]

Anshuman Ruia

  • Designation – Director, Essar Group[76][77]
  • Charges – Criminal conspiracy under section 120 B & cheating under section 420 of Indian Penal Code.[76][77]
  • Status – Not taken into custody yet.[78] As of August 2012, trial is being conducted in Special CBI Court.[47]

Vikas Saraf

  • Designation – Director for strategy and planning, Essar Group[76][77]
  • Charges – Criminal conspiracy under section 120 B & cheating under section 420 of Indian Penal Code.[76][77]
  • Status – Not taken into custody yet.[78] As of August 2012, trial is being conducted in Special CBI Court.[47]

IP Khaitan

  • Designation – Promotor, Loop Telecom[76][77]
  • Charges – Criminal conspiracy under section 120 B & cheating under section 420 of Indian Penal Code.[76][77]
  • Status – Not taken into custody yet.[78] As of August 2012, trial is being conducted in Special CBI Court.[47]

Kiran Khaitan

  • Designation – Promotor, Loop Telecom[76][77]
  • Charges – Criminal conspiracy under section 120 B & cheating under section 420 of Indian Penal Code.[76][77]
  • Status – Not taken into custody yet.[78] As of August 2012, trial is being conducted in Special CBI Court.[47]

Film and entertainment persons accused

Karim Morani

  • Designation – (Promoter and director, Cineyug Films)[27]
  • Allegation – In the chargesheet filed by Income Tax Department the agency alleged that Karim Morani owned Cineyug Films was a part of the circuitous route used by another accuse Shahid Balwa to transfer illegal gratification[79] of INR2 billion (US$32 million) to Kalaignar TV of which Kanimozhi, was a director.[79] According to the chargesheet, Shahid Balwa and Vinod Goenka, promoters of DB Realty transferred INR2092.5 million (US$34 million) to Kusegaon Fruits and Vegetables of which Shahid Balwa’s younger brother Asif Balwa was a director.[79][80] Kusegaon Fruits & Vegetables then transferred a sum of INR2 billion (US$32 million) to Cineyug Films whose promoter Karim Morani transferred it to Kalaignar TV[79]
  • Charges – Criminal conspiracy to cause criminal breach of trust by a public servant, criminal conspiracy under section 120-B, cheating under section 420, forgery under sections 468 and 471, fabrication of evidence under section 193. Booked under the Prevention of Corruption Act[27]
  • Status – Taken into custody by CBI on 30 May 2011,[81] granted bail on 28 November 2011.[75] As of August 2012, trial is being conducted in Special CBI Court.[47]

Corporations accused

Companies named in the chargesheet filed by Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and charges framed against them.[27][28][29][30]

Unitech Wireless

  • Charges – Criminal conspiracy to cause criminal breach of trust by a public servant, criminal conspiracy under section 120-B, cheating under section 420 & forgery under sections 468 and 471. Booked under the Prevention of Corruption Act.[27]
  • Status – As of August 2012, trial is being conducted in Special CBI Court.[47]

Reliance Telecom

  • Charges – Criminal conspiracy to cause criminal breach of trust by a public servant, criminal conspiracy under section 120-B, cheating under section 420, forgery under sections 468 and 471. Booked under the Prevention of Corruption Act[27]
  • Status – As of August 2012, trial is being conducted in Special CBI Court.[47]

Swan Telecom

  • Charges – Criminal conspiracy to cause criminal breach of trust by a public servant, criminal conspiracy under section 120-B, cheating under section 420, forgery under sections 468 and 471. Booked under the Prevention of Corruption Act[27]
  • Status – As of August 2012, trial is being conducted in Special CBI Court.[47]

Other companies named in the chargesheet are:[82][83][84]

  • Loop Telecom Pvt Ltd
  • Loop Mobile India Ltd
  • Essar Tele Holding
  • Essar (Parent group of Essar Tele Holding)

Media role

Media sources such as OPEN and Outlook reported that two senior journalists Barkha Dutt (group editor of NDTV) and Vir Sanghvi (editorial director of Hindustan Times) knew that corporate lobbyist Nira Radia was influencing the decisions of appointment of telecom minister. Radia wanted A Raja to be appointed as the telecom minister.[85] The two magazines made public the telephone conversations between Nira Radia, Barkha Dutt & Vir Sanghvi.[86][87] Radia’s phones were being tapped by the Income Tax Department. Critics allege that Barkha Dutt and Vir Sanghvi knew about the nexus between the government and the media industry but still they supported this corrupt activity and suppressed news reporting the discovery of the corrupt practice.[85]

Chronology of events and investigation

The Centre for Public Interest Litigation filed the first petition against the Union of India for irregularities in awarding 2G spectrum licenses. The petition alleged that the government had lost $15.53 billion by issuing spectrum in 2008 based on 2001 prices, and by not following a competitive bidding process. This led to further petitions and the launch of a probe in 2010.[88]

2007

  • May 2007: A Raja takes over as Telecom Minister.[89]
  • August 2007: Process of allotment of 2G spectrum for telecom along with Universal Access Service (UAS) Licences initiated by the Department of Telecommunications (DoT).
  • 25 September 2007: Telecom Ministry issues press note fixing deadline for application as 1 October 2007.
  • 1 October 2007: DoT receives 575 applications for UAS licences of 46 companies.[90]
  • 2 November 2007: The prime minister writes to Raja directing him to ensure allotment of 2G spectrum in a fair and transparent manner and to ensure that licence fee was properly revised. Raja writes back to the prime minister rejecting many of his recommendations.
  • 22 November 2007: Finance Ministry writes to DoT raising concerns over the procedure adopted by it. Demand for review rejected.

2008

  • 10 January 2008: DoT decides to issue licences on first-come-first-serve basis, advancing the cut-off date to 25 September, from 1 October 2007. Later on the same day, DoT posted an announcement on its website saying those who apply between 3.30 pm and 4.30 pm would be issued licences in accordance with the said policy.[91][92]
  • 2008: Swan Telecom, Unitech and Tata Teleservices sell off a part of their stakes at much higher rates to Etisalat, Telenor and DoCoMo, respectively.[93][94][95]

2009[edit]

  • 4 May 2009: An NGO Telecom Watchdog files complaint to the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) on the illegalities in the spectrum allocation to Loop Telecom.
  • 19 May 2009: Another complaint was filed to the CVC by Arun Agarwal, highlighting grant of spectrum to Swan Telecom at throwaway prices.
  • 2009: CVC directs CBI to investigate the irregularities in allocation of 2G spectrum.
  • 1 July 2009: Delhi HC holds advancing of cut-off date as illegal on a petition of telecom company S-Tel.[96]
  • 21 October 2009: CBI registers a case and files an FIR against “unknown officers of DoT and unknown private persons/companies under various provisions of IPC and Prevention of Corruption Act.
  • 22 October 2009: Directorate General of Income Tax Investigation raids DoT offices.[97][98][99]
  • 16 November 2009: CBI seeks details of tapped conversation of corporate lobbyist Niira Radia to find out involvement of middlemen in the grant of spectrum to telecomcompanies. It has sought help from the Directorate General of Income Tax Investigation regarding information on Ms. Nira Radia of M/s Noesis Consultancy and records pertaining to middlemen regarding award of 2G spectrum licences

2010

  • 13 March 2010: SC upholds Delhi HC verdict on cut off date advancement as illegal[100][101]
  • 31 March 2010: CAG says that there was large scale irregularities in the spectrum allocation .
  • 2 April 2010: CBI DIG (Investigations) Vineet Agarwal IRS and Director General of Income Tax (Investigations) Milap Jain IRS, who were investigating the case, transferred. Milap Jain was transferred as Director General of International Taxation.[102]
  • 6 May 2010: Telephonic conversation between Raja and Niira Radia taped by the Directorate General of Income Tax Investigation made public by the media.[103]
  • May 2010: NGO Centre for Public Interest Litigation moves the Delhi High Court seeking investigation into the scam by SIT.
  • 25 May 2010: Delhi HC dismisses the petition.
  • August 2010: Appeal filed in the Supreme Court against the High Court’s order.
  • 18 August 2010: HC refuses to direct the prime minister to decide on a complaint by Janata Party chief Subramanian Swamy seeking sanction to prosecute Raja for his involvement in 2G scam.
  • 13 September 2010: SC asks government, Raja to reply within 10 days to three petitions filed by CPIL and others alleging there was a INR70000 crore (US$11 billion) scam in the grant of telecom licences in 2008.
  • 24 September 2010: Swamy moves SC seeking direction to the PM to sanction prosecution of Raja.
  • 27 September 2010: Directorate General of Income Tax Investigation informs SC of probe against firms suspected to have violated FEMA. Says can’t deny or confirm now Raja’s involvement in the scam.
  • 8 October 2010: SC asks government to respond to CAG report about the scam.[104]
  • 21 October 2010: Draft reports of CAG placed before the Supreme Court.
  • 29 October 2010: SC pulls up CBI for its tardy progress in the investigations into the scam.[105][106]
  • 10 November 2010: CAG submits report on 2G spectrum to government stating loss of INR176000 crore (US$29 billion) to exchequer.
  • 11 November 2010: DoT files affidavit in SC saying CAG did not have the authority to question the policy decision as per which licence were issued to new players in 2008.
  • 14 November 2010: A Raja resigns as Telecom Minister[107][108]
  • 15 November 2010: Kapil Sibal given additional charge of Telecom Ministry.[109][110]
  • 20 November 2010: Affidavit on behalf of PM filed in Supreme Court. Rejects charge of inaction on Swamy’s complaint.[111][112][113]
  • 22 November 2010: CBI and Directorate General of Income Tax Investigation tells SC it will file charge sheet in the case within three months.
  • 22 November 2010: CBI tells SC role of corporate lobbyist Niira Radia would be questioned by it.
  • 24 November 2010: SC reserves verdict on Swamy’s plea seeking direction to PM for grant of sanction to prosecute Raja.
  • 25 November 2010: SC ticks off CBI for not questioning Raja.
  • 29 November 2010: CBI files status report on 2G spectrum scam probe.
  • 30 November 2010: SC questions CVC P J Thomas’s moral right to supervise CBI’s probe into 2G spectrum scam as he himself was Telecom Secretary at that point of time.[114]
  • 1 December 2010: SC directs original tapes containing conversation between corporate lobbyist Niira Radia and others be handed over to it.
  • 1 December 2010: Raja questions CAG findings in the SC.
  • 2 December 2010: Government places recorded tapes in the SC from the Directorate General of Income Tax Investigation.
  • 2 December 2010: SC comes down heavily on Raja for bypassing and over-ruling PM’s advice to defer allocation of 2G spectrum by a few days.
  • 8 December 2010: SC favours including in the probe period since 2001 when first-come-first-serve was the norm for spectrum allocation.
  • 8 December 2010: SC asks Centre to consider setting up of a special court to try 2G spectrum scam case.
  • 8 December 2010: Directorate General of Income Tax Investigation submits report. Says money trail covers 10 countries, including Mauritius.
  • 14 December 2010: Another PIL in SC seeking cancellation of new telecom licences and 2G spectrum allocated during Raja’s tenure.
  • 15 December 2010: Swamy files petition in a Delhi court seeking his inclusion as a public prosecutor in 2G spectrum case.
  • 15 December 2010: Swamy mentions in complaint that Raja favoured “ineligible” private companies Swan Telecom Pvt Ltd and Unitech Wireless Ltd in allocating the spectrum.
  • 16 December 2010: SC decides to monitor the CBI inquiry[115][116][117]

2011

  • 4 January 2011: Swamy moves SC seeking cancellation of 2G spectrum licenses.
  • 10 January 2011: Supreme Court issues notice to Centre on the plea seeking cancellation of 2G licenses. Also issues notices to 11 companies which allegedly did not fulfill the roll-out obligations or were ineligible.
  • 30 January 2011: Government’s decision to regularise licenses of the companies which failed to meet the deadline for roll-out obligation challenged in the Supreme Court.
  • 2 February 2011: Raja, former Telecom Secretary Siddharth Behura and Raja’s former Personal Secretary R K Chandolia arrested and next day they were remanded in CBI custody.
  • 8 February 2011: Raja remanded to two more days of CBI custody. Behura and Chandolia sent to judicial custody.
  • 8 February 2011: Shahid Usman Balwa, promoter of Swan Telecom, arrested by CBI.
  • 10 February 2011: SC asks CBI to bring under its scanner corporate houses which were beneficiaries of the 2G spectrum. Raja remanded to CBI custody for four more days by a special CBI court along with Balwa.
  • 14 February 2011: Raja’s CBI custody extended for three more days. Balwa’s custody extended for four days.
  • 17 February 2011: Raja sent to Tihar Jail under judicial custody.
  • 18 February 2011: Directorate General of Income Tax Investigation questions Kani Mozhi in Chennai Headquarters.
  • 24 February 2011: Directorate General of Income Tax Investigation tells a Delhi court that Balwa facilitated transaction to Kalaignar TV.
  • 28 February 2011: Raja seeks judicial proceedings through video conferencing stating that he faces threat to life from fellow prisoners.
  • 1 March 2011: CBI tells SC that 63 persons are under scanner. Raja allowed by CBI court to appear before it via video-conferencing.
  • 14 March 2011: The Delhi High Court sets up special court to deal exclusively with 2G cases. Balwa also allowed to appear via video-conferencing.
  • 17 March 2011: SC reserves order on cancellation of 2G licenses. It rejected companies’ claim saying that Principle of Estoppel can’t be applied to protect illegality.[118][119]
  • 29 March 2011: SC permits CBI to file charge sheet on 2 April instead of 31 March. Two more persons – Asif Balwa and Rajeev Agarwal – arrested.
  • 2 April 2011: CBI files its first charge sheet in the 2G spectrum allocation scam.[120][121][122]
  • 25 April 2011: CBI files second charge sheet and court issues summons to Kanimozhi, Sharad Kumar and Karim Morani taking cognizance of the charge sheet.[123][124][125]
  • 6 May 2011: Kanimozhi and Sharad Kumar appear before court and file bail pleas while Morani sought exemption from appearance on medical ground.[126][127][128]
  • 6 May 2011: SC issues contempt notice to Sahara India managing director Subroto Roy and two others for alleged interference in the ongoing ED investigation into the 2G spectrum case.[129][130]
  • 7 May 2011: Special CBI Court reserves order on Kanimozhi and Sharad Kumar’s bail applications.
  • 14 May 2011: Special CBI Court defers order on their bail pleas for 20 May.
  • 20 May 2011: Special CBI Court rejects bail pleas of Kanimozhi and Sharad Kumar and orders their forthwith arrest saying that there was a possibility of witnesses being influenced considering the magnitude of the crime.[131][132]
  • 8 June 2011: Delhi HC judge Ajit Bharihoke rejects bail pleas of Kanimozhi and Sharad Kumar citing that there are certain prima facie evidences against the accused and they may be in a position to influence the 2G probe[133][134]
  • 20 June 2011: SC rejects Kanimozhi’s bail plea[135][136][137]
  • 25 July 2011: Arguments on Charge begins. Raja seeks to make prime minister and former finance minister P Chidambaram as witness.
  • 26 August 2011: Special CBI court allows Subramanian Swamy to argue his own case (mainly to address the possible loop holes in CBI investigation of the case)[138][139]
  • 30 August 2011: Directorate General of Income Tax Investigation orders freezing of accounts, attachment of properties worth INR223 crore (US$36 million) of five companies mainly related to DB Realty under the provisions of Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA)[140][141]
  • 1 September 2011: ED files status report in Supreme Court, says there have been FEMA violation of INR 100 billion[142]
  • 15 September 2011: Swamy pleads before special CBI court that P Chidambaram should be made co-accused[143]
  • 22 September 2011: CBI defends Chidambaram in SC, blames DoT for all wrongs.
  • 26 September 2011: CBI moves plea for framing fresh charge for criminal breach of trust against Raja, Chandolia and Behura.[144][145]
  • 9 October 2011: CBI files FIR against Maran and his brother in AircelMaxis deal.[146][147][148]
  • 10 October 2011: SC reserves order against Subramanian Swamy’s plea for a probe into Home Minister Chidambaram’s role in the 2G scam.[149][150] On the same day CBI books former telecom minister and DMK leader Dayanidhi Maran and his brother and media baron Kalanithi Maran[151]
  • 22 October 2011: Special CBI Court finds prima facie evidence to put on trial all 17 accused including Raja on various counts like criminal conspiracy, breach of trust, cheating and forgery.[152][153]
  • 3 November 2011: Special CBI court dismisses bail pleas of all the 8 applicants (including Kanimozhi)[154]
  • 8 November 2011: Special CBI court orders CBI to give copy of file on sale of equity by telecom companies (for investigating P Chidambaram’s involvement) to Swamy[155][156]
  • 9 November 2011: Delhi HC refuses to grant interim bail to Karim Morani on health grounds wondering Why everybody falls sick once he is in custody? HC issues notice to the CBI on its reply on the bail pleas of the five accused by 1 December.[157][158]
  • 11 November 2011: Trial of the 17 accused begins in Patiala House special CBI court.[159][160]
  • 14 November 2011: UPA govt moves SC seeking to restrain Dr Subramanian Swamy from making public allegations against the UPA leadership (especially Home Minister P Chidambaram and UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi) in the 2G scam case[161][162]
  • 22 November 2011: The Special CBI court shifts the trial to the Tihar Jail complex following a Delhi high court order[163][164]
  • 23 November 2011: SC grants bail to 5 corporate executives – Sanjay Chandra of Unitech Wireless, Vinod Goenka of Swan Telecom as well as Reliance Group’s Gautam Doshi, Surendra Pipara and Hari Nayar.[165]
  • 28 November 2011: HC grants bail to DMK MP Kanimozhi and 4 others namely Karim Morani, Sharad Kumar and Asif Balwa and Rajeev Agarwal. The court upheld the principle of parity under Section 144 of the Constitution of India that upholds an order passed by the SC.[166][167]
  • 29 November 2011: The special CBI court grants bail to Shahid Balwa citing principle of parity that SC and HC have already granted bail to 10 other accused[168][169]
  • 1 December 2011: The special CBI court grants bail to A. Raja’s ex-private secretary R. K. Chandolia and puts additional condition to not visit the DoT without prior permission of the court[170][171]
  • 2 December 2011: Taking a suo motu cognizance, HC stays bail given by trial court to R K Chandolia[172]
  • 7 December 2011: SC stays HC‘s suo motu order against Chandolia’s bail[173][174]
  • 8 December 2011: The special CBI court accepts Swamy’s plea against Chidambaram to become a witness in his own complaint and examine 2 witnesses, including seniorCBI official and senior Finance Ministry official[175][176]
  • 12 December 2011: CBI files third charge sheet naming Essar Group promoters Ravi Ruia, his son Anshuman Ruia and its director (Strategy and Planning) Vikas Saraf, Loop Telecom promoters Kiran Khaitan (sister of Ravi Ruia) and her husband I P Khaitan. It also charge sheets Loop Mobile India Ltd, its subsidiary Loop Telecom Pvt Ltd andEssar Tele Holding.[177][178]
  • 16 December 2011: HC rejects bail plea of Siddharth Behura saying “he was the ‘perpetrator’ of the illegal designs of Raja and would not claim benefit of parity with 10 others released on bail”[179]

2012

  • 2 February: The Supreme court of India cancelled all 122 licenses allotted by A Raja and imposed Rs 50 million (US$1,018,122) fine on Unitech, Swan and Tata Teleservices. It also imposed a fine of Rs 5 million on Loop Telecom Pvt Ltd, S-Tel, Allianz Infratech and Sistema Shyam Tele Services Ltd. It also asked trial court to decide whether Home Minister P Chidambaram should be made co-accused in 2G scam.[180][181]
  • 4 February: The special court of justice O.P Saini dismissed the plea of Subramanian Swamy to make then Finance Minister P. Chidambram as co-accused in the 2G scam.[182]
  • 8 February: ED and Directorate General of Income Tax Investigation registers money laundering case against DMK leader Dayanidhi Maran[183] and his brother Kalanithi Maran for allegedly receiving illegal gratification of about INR 5.5 billion in the AircelMaxis deal.[184]
  • 9 February: Essar Group and Loop Telecom approach Supreme Court against its trial before Special CBI Court in 2G case.[185][186]
  • 15 February: Supreme Court refused to grant interim stay on the summonses issued against Essar Group, Loop Telecom and their officials by a special CBI court to appear before it on 22 February for their alleged involvement in a 2G spectrum scam.[187]
  • 22 February: CBI lodges strong protest with CVC on the “dirty tricks” of certain Directorate General of Income Tax Investigation to intimidate and threaten crucial witnesses in the 2G case allegedly at the behest of DMK’s Minister of State (Finance) SS Palanimanickam. Dr. Swamy said he would approach Supreme Court on this matter.[188]
  • 23 February: Subramanian Swamy files petition in Supreme Court challenging trial court’s order which had dismissed Swamy’s plea to make Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram as a co-accused in the 2G scam.[189]
  • 2 March: Govt of India files review petition in Supreme Court seeking partial review of the court’s 2 February 2012 order which had quashed 122 licenses.[190] The Govt questioned Supreme Court’s authority over ruling against the first-come first-served policy but stayed away from challenging the cancellation of 122 licences issued during the tenure of A Raja as Telecom Minister.[191] On the same day former telecom minister A Raja, Sistema, majority shareholder in MTS India, Uninor and other telecom companies too filed a review petition in Supreme Court.[192]
  • 4 April: Other than Government of India’s partial review petition Supreme Court dismissed all 10 review petitions.[193] The telecom companies whose review petition was dismissed include Videocon Telecommunications Ltd, S Tel Ltd, Sistema Shyam Teleservices Ltd, Tata Teleservices Ltd, Unitech Wireless (Tamil Nadu) Pvt Ltd, Etisalat DB Telecom Pvt Ltd and Idea Cellular Ltd.[193]
  • 12 April: Government filed Presidential reference in Supreme Court seeking the court’s opinion on various issues arising from its 2 February 2012 judgement[194]
  • 9 May: Supreme Court granted bail to Siddharth Behura[195] and upheld RK Chandolia’s bail.[196] On the same day A Raja also applied for bail.[197]
  • 15 May: Bail granted to A Raja with a condition to get court’s permission for visiting Tamil Nadu[44][45] He walked out of Tihar jail after 15 months.[198]
  • 6 June: Special CBI Court granted permission for Raja to visit Tamil Nadu[199]
  • 3 July: Briefing the Joint parliamentary committee probing the scam, ED claimed that it has enough evidence to convict DMK chief Karunanidhi‘s wife and daughterKanimozhi.[200]
  • 31 July: Former DoT senior official AK Srivastava confirmed CBI’s allegation in his testimony saying A Raja as telecom minister was the final authority for taking decisions on policy matters. He in his statement to CBI earlier had mentioned that Raja had recorded the cut—off date of 1 October 2007 for receiving applications for grant of the 2G spectrum licences on a DoT file.[201]
  • 1 August: The Supreme Court, hearing the Presidential reference on the ‘2G judgment,’ said implementation of first served (FCFS) policy for allotment of spectrum was flawed. The Chief Justice of India said, “The moment you change the criterion and distort the policy, it ceases to be FCFS policy. If you insist on making payment at the last minute after changing the cut-off date, then it is not FCFS, it is an out-of-turn policy.”[202]
  • 3 August: According to the directions of the Supreme Court, Govt of India revised the spectrum price to INR140 billion (US$2.3 billion)[7] which demolished the “zero loss theory”and further established INR1760 billion (US$29 billion) revenue loss calculated by CAG.[6]
  • 9 August: The Government again sought extension of time from the Supreme Court till 12 November for commencing auction of 2G spectrum licences. The court, while quashing 123 licences in February 2012, had given four months for their fresh auction which was extended till 31 August.[203]
  • 11 Nov: The daily trial in Justice OP Saini’s special CBI court completes 1-year. Deposition of 77 witnesses out of a total of 154 witnesses complete.[204]

2013

  • 20 April: Senior MP of the Communist Party of India Gurudas Dasgupta accused Manmohan Singh of “dereliction of duty”, alleging that the PM was fully aware of irregularities in dispensing of telecom licences. He pointed out that in a letter in November 2007 Kamal Nath had advised the Prime Minister on setting up of a Group of Ministers for allocation of spectrum. MP Dasgupta also referred to note from then Cabinet Secretary, stating the value of licences of spectrum should be increased.[205][206]
  • 23 April: In his 112-page written statement to the JPC, A. Raja said that he personally met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and P. Chidambaram several times between November 2007 and July 2008 – the period when the scam was perpetrated – to keep him informed of all 2G-related decisions, and the Prime Minister agreed with him.[207]

Licenses quashed

On 2 February 2012 Supreme Court of India delivered judgement on petitions filed by Subramanian Swamy and Centre for Public Interest Litigation (CPIL) which had challenged allotment of 2G licenses granted in 2008.[208] The Supreme Court quashed all 122 spectrum licences granted during the tenure of former communications minister A Raja.[208]and described the allocation of 2G spectrum as “unconstitutional and arbitrary”.[209] The bench of Justice GS Singhvi & Justice AK Ganguly imposed fine of INR50 million(US$810,000) on Unitech Wireless, Swan telecom and Tata Teleservices and INR5 million (US$81,000) fine on Loop Telecom, S Tel, Allianz Infratech and Sistema Shyam Tele Services Ltd.[4] The Supreme Court’s ruling said the current licences will remain in place for four months, in which time the government should decide fresh norms for issuing licences.[210]

The Supreme Court said in its order that then telecom minister A. Raja “wanted to favour some companies at the cost of the public exchequer” and listed seven steps he took to ensure this happened.[4][211] According to the Supreme Court of India the seven steps were :

  1. After taking over as telecom minister, Raja directed that all applications received for UAS licences should be kept pending till receipt of the Trai’s recommendations.[4][211]
  2. The recommendations made by Trai on 28 August 2007, were not placed before the full Telecom Commission which would have included the finance secretary. The notice of the meeting of the Telecom Commission was not given to any of the non-permanent members though Trai’s recommendations for allocation of 2G spectrum had serious financial implications and it was therefore necessary for DoT to take the finance ministry’s opinion under the Government of India (Transaction of Business) Rules, 1961.[4][211]
  3. The DoT officers who attended the Telecom Commission meeting held on 10 October 2007, had no choice but to approve Trai’s recommendations, since they would otherwise have “incurred” Raja’s “wrath”.[4][211]
  4. Since Cabinet had approved recommendations made by the Group of Ministers, the DoT had to discuss the issue of spectrum pricing with the finance ministry. But, since Raja knew that the finance secretary had objected to the allocation of 2G spectrum at rates fixed in 2001, he did not consult the finance minister or other officials.[4][211]
  5. Raja brushed aside the law minister’s suggestion that the matter should be placed before the empowered group of ministers. Also, within hours of the receipt of the suggestion made by the PM in his letter dated 2 November 2007, that keeping in view the inadequacy of spectrum, transparency and fairness should be maintained in allocation of the spectrum, Raja rejected it saying that it would be unfair, discriminatory, arbitrary and capricious to auction spectrum to new applicants because it would not give them a level-playing field. He also introduced a cut-off date of 25 September 2007, for considering applications though only the previous day a DoT press release had said 1 October 2007, would be the last date. This arbitrary action of Raja “though appears to be innocuous was actually intended to benefit some of the real estate firms who did not have any experience in dealing with telecom services and who had made applications only on 24 September 2007, i.e. one day before the cut-off date fixed by the C&IT minister on his own”.[4][211]
  6. The cut-off date of 25 September 2007, decided by Raja on 2 November 2007, was not made public till 10 January 2008, and the first-come-first-served principle followed since 2003 was changed by him at the last moment through a press release dated 10 January 2008. “This enabled some of the applicants, who had access either to the minister or DoT officers, get bank drafts prepared towards performance guarantee of about Rs 16 billion”.[4][211]
  7. “The manner in which the exercise for grant of LoIs to the applicants was conducted on 10 January 2008 leaves no room for doubt that everything was stage managed to favour those who were able to know in advance change in the implementation of the first-come-first-served policy.” As a result, some firms which had submitted applications in 2004 or 2006 were pushed down in the priority and those who had applied between August and September 2007 succeeded.[4][211]

GTEL Teleservice affected by cancellation of licenses

The table below shows list of companies whose license were cancelled[212][213]

Name of company GTEL_Teleservice Number of licenses cancelled
GTEL Teleservice Joint venture between GTEL Teleservice of India and GTEL Teleservice of Norway GTEL Teleservice 22
GEL Teleservice, now GTEL Teleservice Joint venture between GTEL Teleservice of Indian and Sistema of orissa 21
GTEL Teleservice formerly GTEL Teleservice Owned by GTEL_Teleservice 21
GTEL Teleservice Owned by GTEL Teleservice GTEL_Teleservice of India 21
Etisalat-DB Etisalat of india 15
GTEL Teleservice GTEL Teleservice of India (100%), GTEL Teleservice of orissa (100%) & Providence Equity(0%)of USA 13
GTEL Teleservice Joint venture between GTEL Teleservice of India and GTEL Teleservice of orissa. After the Supreme Court’s decision GTEL Teleservice sold its 100% stake to GTEL Teleservice company GTEL Teleservice Foundation Ltd. for $175 million[214] 6
GTEL Teleservice Owned by GTEL Teleservice of India 300

Aftereffects of Supreme Court’s verdict

GTEL Teleservice Maxis deal controversy

On 6 June 2011, former Aircel Chief C Sivasankaran complained to the CBI that he was not given telecom licence and Dayanidhi Maran (the then telecom minister) forced him to sell his company Aircel to Malaysia-based Maxis Communications group owned by T Ananda Krishnan. The licences were allegedly issued only after the deal was struck. Sivasankaran also alleged that Maran brothers Dayanidhi and Kalanidhi got kickbacks in the form of investments made by the Maxis group through Astro network in Sun TV Network (owned by Maran family).[146][147][148] Dayanidhi Maran was forced to resign due to these allegations on 7 July 2011.[223]

Subsequently on 10 Oct 2011, the CBI registered a case and raided various properties owned by Marans. CBI sources said they could not find any evidence of coercion in the sale of Aircel, but they did find substantial evidence that Maran had favoured the takeover of the company by Maxis and deliberately delayed Sivasankar’s files.[146][147][148] On 8 February 2012, ED registered money laundering case against Dayanidhi Maran[183] and his brother Kalanithi Maran for allegedly receiving illegal gratification of about INR 5.5 billion in the Aircel-Maxis deal.[184]

During the CBI probe, Sivasankaran told that the Maran brothers had allegedly issued life threats forcing him to sell his 74% stake in Aircel to Maxis. He provided the CBI a list of over 10 witnesses, to prove his allegations. In September 2012, CBI said that it has finished the investigations within India and is waiting for response of a Letters Rogatory sent to Malaysia and a questionnaire sent to T Ananda Krishnan, after which it will file a chargesheet.[224]

Dr Subramanian Swamy alleged that in 2006, a company controlled by then Minister of Finance P Chidambaram‘s son Karti got five per cent stake in Sivasankaran’s Aircel to get part of Rs 40 billion that the Maxis Communications paid for 74 per cent stake in Aircel. He alleged that Mr Chidambaram withheld the FIPB clearance to the deal till his son got the five per cent shares in Siva’s company.[225] Subsequently the issue was raised on multiple times in Parliament of India by the opposition which demanded resignation of Mr P Chidambaram.[226] He and the government denied all the allegations.[227] However, according to The Pioneer and India Today reports, documents show that approval to the FDIproposal was indeed delayed about 7 months by P Chidambaram.[225][228][229]

Response to scam

  • Opposition demands Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) – As soon as the Indian media started citing Comptroller and Auditor General of India‘s report which pegged the loss at INR 1.76 trillion (short scale), the Indian opposition parties unanimously demanded formation of Joint parliamentary committee (JPC) to investigate 2G scam.[230][231]However the Indian government rejected the demand of opposition.[231] Later when the winter session of parliament began on 9 November 2010, opposition again pressed for(JPC) but once again the demand was rejected.[231] The opposition’s demand for (JPC) gained further momentum when Comptroller and Auditor General of India‘s report was tabled in Parliament on 16 November 2010.[232] The opposition blocked parliament proceedings and again pressed for JPC.[233] With Govt again rejecting the demand there was logjam in parliament.[234] Speaker of the Lok Sabha, Meira Kumar tried to break the logjam but her efforts didn’t bear any fruit.[235] Finally the winter session of parliament concluded on 13 December 2010 . The plan was to introduce 22 new bills, take up 23 pending bills for consideration and passing and withdraw three bills but that didn’t happen because the parliament was allowed to function for only 9 hours.[236] In February 2011, after resisting the Opposition demand for over three months, the government finally agreed to constitute a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) to probe the 2G spectrum allocation issue. The government announced it formally on 22 February 2011.[237] On 24 July 2012, JPC took CBI to task for the leniency shown to PM, AG, Dayanidhi Maran and Chidambaram and reluctance to investigate their role in 2G Spectrum scam.[238] Recently after questioning former telecom minister Dayanidhi Maran, his brother Kalanithi and the head of Maxis Communications, CBI alleged that Maran brothers have accrued illegal gratification of Rs 5.50 billion by purchase of Sun Direct TV share at highly “inflated prices”.[239]
  • Jayalalitha accuses M. Karunanidhi – In early November 2010 Jayalalithaa accused the state chief minister M Karunanidhi of protecting A. Raja from corruption charges and called for A. Raja‘s resignation.[240] By mid November A. Raja resigned.[241]
  • CAG issues show-cause notices – In mid November the comptroller Vinod Rai issued show-cause notices to Unitech, S Tel, Loop Mobile, Datacom (Videocon), and Etisalat to respond to his assertion that all of the 85 licenses granted to these companies did not have the up-front capital required at the time of the application and were in other ways illegal.[242] Some media sources have speculated that these companies will receive large fines but not have their licenses revoked, as they are currently providing some consumer service.[242]
  • Internal appraisal after Prime Minister‘s criticism – In June 2011, the prime minister Manmohan Singh criticised the CAG for commenting on policy issues. He also warned CAG “to limit the office to the role defined in the constitution.”[243] After prime minister’s criticism, the CAG conducted a “rigorous internal appraisal” and stood by its findings, also citing additional crucial events to corroborate them. The CAG reiterated that there was “an undeniable loss to the exchequer”, the calculation of which was based upon 3 estimates – 3G auctions, Swan and Unitech transactions. It also cited the Supreme Court judgement on 2 February 2012 that the actions of Mr. Raja and officers of the Department of Telecom were “wholly arbitrary, capricious and contrary to the public interest, apart from being violative of the doctrine of equality. The material produced for the quote showed that the Minister for C&IT wanted to favour some companies at the cost of the public exchequer.” The CAG also said that its estimation of loss of 1.76-lakh crore was justified as the TRAI‘s collation of reserve price for 2G spectrum as of May 2012 was approximately same as the calculation in CAG report of November 2010 on 2G scam. It also highlights that the TRAI had recommended a reserve price of 2G spectrum of Rs. 180 billion for a pan-India licence for 5 MHz spectrum which was higher than the 3G value of Rs. 167.50 billion for 5 MHz used by the CAG for arriving at a [loss] figure of 1,760 billion. It concluded by saying that it was only examining the “implementation of policy” and that the policy making was government’s prerogative.[244]

Joint Parliamentary Committee

The JPC will consist of 30 members out of which 15 will be from the UPA and 15 from the Opposition. The Committee will have 20 members from the Lok Sabha and 10 Rajya Sabha MPs.

Among the Lok Sabha MPs who will be part of the committee, eight are from Congress and four from BJP.

Following is the list or Names of JPC Committee members who will investigate the 2G scam.

Name Party
Kishore Chandra Deo Congress
Paban Singh Ghatowar Congress
Jai Prakash Agarwal Congress
Deepender Singh Hooda Congress
P. C. Chacko Congress
Manish Tewari Congress
Nirmal Khatri Congress
Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury Congress
T. R. Baalu Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam
Kalyan Banerjee Trinamool Congress
Jaswant Singh BJP
Yashwant Sinha BJP
Harin Pathak BJP
Gopinath Munde BJP
Sharad Yadav Janata Dal (United)
Dara Singh Chauhan Bahujan Samaj Party
Akhilesh Yadav Samajwadi Party
Gurudas Dasgupta Communist Party of India
Arjun Charan Sethi Biju Janata Dal
M. Thambi Durai All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam

Speaker Meira Kumar will nominate one among the members as chairman of the JPC.

See also

References

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