Essar denies all charges in 2G case

The Essar Group on Monday strongly opposed all charges against it in the second generation (2G) telecom airwaves case and told a CBI special court here that no norm was violated as alleged.

‘Wild goose chase’ is how Essar’s senior counsel Harish Salve described the third set of charges filed against the group by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in the case.

Salve told Special Judge OP Saini that his clients were dragged merely because of the complex structure of their firms.

The CBI alleged that the promoters of Essar Group were the real investors and beneficiaries of the spectrum and licences issued to Loop Telecom, which was used as a front company by the Essar Group to acquire the 2G licences and spectrum in 2008.

This has already been denied vehemently by the Essar Group.

‘Helping a relative is not a criminal offence,’ Salve said, adding no guideline was violated by his clients.

The hearing will continue Tuesday. Essar, which already had a 33 per cent stake in Vodafone, held substantial equity in Loop and violated telecom licence norms, the CBI chargesheet said.

According to the government auditor, former telecom minister A Raja was biased while distributing mobile airwaves and operating licences to telecom firms, causing a loss of up to Rs 1.76 lakh crore to the treasury.

Nineteen individuals, including Raja, and six companies are accused in the case. Fourteen people were arrested.
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