Regularisation of 2G licences of defaulters challenged in SC

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New Delhi, Jan 30 (PTI) The government''s decision toregularise licences of the companies which failed to meet thedeadline for the roll-out obligation of 2G spectrum, has beenchallenged in the Supreme Court by an NGO.

The application filed by the Centre for Public InterestLitigation along with other civil societies and individuals,has sought a direction to restrain the Ministry of Telecomfrom regularising 2G licenses of such companies by imposingpenalty.

In their joint petition, the civil societies havealleged that these allocations, made by the Department ofTelecom (DoT) during the tenure of former Telecom Minister ARaja, were marred by "multiple illegalities, corruption andfavouritism" and the government is trying to protect them bycharging a small penalty.

"It is amply clear that DoT is protecting the interestof the companies which have benefited and even those companieswhich violated the licence conditions. The stark case of Loopand Swan makes this clear," the petition which is listed forhearing on Tuesday, said.

"In the case of Loop, there was a detailed complaint asto how it was a front company for Essar and therefore wasineligible for the licence. In the case of Swan, a detailedcomplaint was made that it is a front company for AnilDhirubhai Ambani Group (ADAG). In both the cases, clean chitwas given to both these entities by the Ministry of CorporateAffairs," the petition said.

The other petitioners in this case are Telecom Watchdog,Common Cause, former Chief Election Commissioner J M Lyngdoh,T S Krishnamurthy and N Gopalaswami along with former CentralVigilance Commissioner P Shankar.

They further submitted that even the sectoral regulatorhas recommended for cancellation of 69 out of the 122 licencesas the licencees have failed to roll out their services asstipulated by the condition on which they were given thelicences.

"Restrain the Union of India from regularising anytelecom license after charging some penalty or compounding anylicense violation," they pleaded alleging that in the presentcase, 122 telecom licences along with 2G spectrum wereallocated in an arbitrary manner without any competitiveprocess.

Referring to CAG report, the petitioners alleged that85 licensees out of 122 issued to 13 companies have been foundto the ineligible for grant of license and 2G spectrum andhave acquired it through fraudulent means.

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