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Not handling daily affairs of Sterling Cellular: Ravi Ruia to Supreme Court

Essar Group promoter Ravi Ruia on Thursday told the Supreme Court that he was not connected with the day-to-day affairs of accused company Sterling Cellular Ltd and the special court wrongly summoned him as an accused in a corruption case related to allocation of additional spectrum during the NDA regime in 2002.

Besides Ruia, Bharti Cellular Ltd CMD Sunil Bharti Mittal, whose name did not figure in CBI’s chargesheet as accused, was summoned on March 19 last year by the special CBI court saying there
was “enough material” to proceed against them in the case.

Ruia was neither named in the chargesheet nor probed by the CBI in the case, senior advocate KV Vishwanathan told a bench headed by Chief Justice HL Dattu.

The lawyer also said that there was no material on record regarding alleged misconduct by Ruia.
However, senior advocate KK Venugopal, appearing for CBI, told the bench that there was “substantial circumstantial evidence” to prove misconduct against them.

Venugopal further said that recalling the lower court order to summon them will have enormous repercussions. The court has now fixed the case for further hearing on December 3.

Earlier, Bharti Cellular Ltd CMD Mittal had assailed the lower court order summoning him as accused in the case.

“It is a curious case,” senior advocate Harish Salve, appearing for Mittal and Ruia, had said, adding that the alleged culpability of a company cannot be fastened on its director or an employee if there is no prima facie evidence to support the allegation.

Besides Mittal and Ruia, the lower court had also summoned Asim Ghosh, the then Managing Director of accused firm Hutchison Max Telecom Pvt Ltd. Ghosh was also not named as accused in the chargesheet.
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