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No case against Sunil Mittal: CBI


AGENCIES | New Delhi, December 3, 2012 17:13
Tags : CBI | Sunil Mittal | Bharti Airtel | 2G spectrum | Pramod Mahajan |

The then CBI Director A P Singh and agency's prosecution chief were of the view that there was no case against Chairman and Managing Director of Bharti Airtel Sunil Mittal in the 2G spectrum case.

This has been disclosed in the opinion given to the Supreme Court last week by Attorney General Ghulam V Vahanvati, who said "there is no disagreement on this point" between the CBI Director and its Director of Prosecution Abdul Aziz.

"Therefore, it is not for me to comment on the views of the executive officers of the CBI for the reasons already stated hereinabove," the AG said in his opinion.

The AG noted that the Director of Prosecution and the retired Additional Legal Advisor (ALA) had in a note in October 2012 had agreed that there was a case against Ghosh and the then Telecom Minister Mahajan.
The ALA had said that as regards the corporates namely Bharti Cellular Limited, Hutchison Max Limited and Sterling Cellular Limited and Mi5 BPL Cellular Limited, the circumstances mentioned by the investigating officer as well as other officers was that Sunil Mittal of Bharti Telecom used to meet the Minister and the then Secretary during that period.

It also referred to the launch of IPO by Bharti Airtel in early 2002 and the lobbying by Sunil Mittal with the Minister and other officials of ministry.

"From the chart it appears that the linking of the issue of investment of Qualified Institutional Bidders (QIBs) in the companies with the omissions and commissions of the Secretary and the Minister is too remote.

"Similarly, meeting of the corporate lobby with the high ups in the office are common unless evidence of any text of meeting indicating any criminal intent of the parties are available, it cannot be linked with criminal motive," the ALA's note said.

The ALA concluded "moreover the corporate houses contribute to the economic growth of the country. Therefore, meeting by corporate lobbyist with high-ups in the government cannot be termed to be criminal intent."

In his opinion, the CBI Director after noting that the Investigating Officer and Senior Public Prosecutor had recommended prosecution of two other companies also noted that the views of the Superintendent of Police, Head of Branch and Head of Zone that the other two companies should not be prosecuted.

The CBI Director was of the view that the other two companies may also be liable for prosecution.

The Attorney General went into a question whether a case is made out of Bharti Cellular (now Bharti Airtel Limited) and the other two companies Hutchison Max Limited (Vodafone) and Sterling Cellular (now known as Vodafone Mobile Services), which are also contemporary beneficiaries of questioned decision of January, 2002 of allocation of additional spectrum.

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Issue Dated: Feb 5, 2017