Spectrum case: Hearing deferred till August 26

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MITTALNew Delhi, August 14;A Delhi court on Wednesday adjourned till August 26 the additional spectrum case with the counsel appearing for Bharti Cellular CMD Sunil Mittal and Essar Group promoter Ravi Ruia informing it that the matter is listed for hearing before the Supreme Court.

Senior advocate Harish Salve, who appeared for Mr. Ruia, told the court that the matter is listed before the Supreme Court on Wednesday itself and, therefore, the trial court hearing should be adjourned till the apex court clarifies whether there is any stay or not on the proceedings.

He said that since the matter in the apex court may not get over on WEdnesday itself, the trial court should give at least a week’s time.

“If there is a stay, it will take one second and if there is no stay, it will also take one second and they (accused) will have to move bail applications,” Special CBI Judge O.P. Saini said while listing the matter for hearing on August 26.

Mr. Mittal, Mr. Ruia and former Telecom Secretary Shyamal Ghosh, all of whom were summoned as accused in the case, appeared before the court on Wednesday.

The court had earlier told Mr. Mittal and Mr. Ruia, who had challenged the trial court’s order summoning them as accused in the case, that there was “no stay” on the proceedings before it and had warned them that it will go ahead with criminal process if they fail to seek clarification from the Supreme Court on the issue.

“There is no stay order as of now,” the judge had said on the last date of hearing and had adjourned the case till today while asking both of them to get it clarified by the apex court.

The CBI had opposed their plea, saying the proceedings had not been stayed by the apex court.

The apex court had in its April 26 interim order exempted Mr. Mittal and Mr. Ruia from personal appearance in the trial court and had said the hearing against them will remain “postponed” until further orders.

The order had come on Mr. Mittal and Mr. Ruia’s pleas challenging the special court’s March 19 order by which it had summoned them as accused in the case.

Mr. Mittal, Mr. Ruia and Canada-based NRI Asim Ghosh, who was then a Managing Director of accused firm Hutchison Max Telecom Pvt Ltd, were summoned as accused by the trial court. The summons to Asim Ghosh have not been served till date.

Mittal, Ruia and Asim Ghosh were not named as accused in CBI’s charge sheet filed on December 21, last year.

Three telecom firms Bharti Cellular Ltd, Hutchison Max Telecom Pvt Ltd (now known as Vodafone India Ltd) and Sterling Cellular Ltd (now known as Vodafone Mobile Service Ltd) are also accused in the case.

CBI, in its charge sheet, had named Shyamal Ghosh and the three telecom companies as accused in the case relating to the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) allocating additional spectrum which had allegedly resulted in a loss of Rs. 846 crore to the exchequer.

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