SC snub to 2G accused telcos

Last Updated: Mon, Feb 11, 2013 18:33 hrs

The Supreme Court on Monday ruled that unsuccessful bidders and telecom companies which opted out of participating in the first round of fresh auction for 2G spectrum would not be allowed to continue their service.

Asking the government to take a position, the apex court ordered that the firms whose licenses had been quashed as part of its verdict on the 2G scam on Feb 2 last year, will have to make payment on the basis of reserved price fixed for the new auction.

Reserving its order on the issue, a bench comprising justices G S Singhvi and K S Radhakrishnan said, "You (Department of Telecommunication) have to take a position on those who have been unsuccessful in auction conducted on November 12 and 13, 2012."

"They cannot be allowed to operate in the events when there are bidders who have been successful. Those who did not go for the bid are also not entitled to continue," the court said.

Russia´s Sistema Shyam Teleservices Ltd said it will take a decision on February 22, to choose the circles when the process for second round of auction will commence which is scheduled for March 11.

"SSTL is awaiting the formal order by the honorable Supreme Court on the extension of the telecom licenses till the conclusion of the fresh auction process for grant of licenses and allocation of spectrum," the company said.

In perhaps the biggest scam in Independent India, allegedly masterminded by former telecoms minister A Raja, spectrum was given away at throwaway prices in 2008 causing a potential revenue loss of up to Rs 1.76 lakh crore.

While Raja, a number of government and private sector officials and firms face trial, a landmark judgement by the Supreme Court last year had quashed 122 licenses issued under the sale.

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