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Court order vindicates stand of no wrongdoing, say corporates after 2G case verdict

In its charge sheet filed in April 2011 against Raja and others, CBI had alleged that there was a loss of Rs 30,984 crore to the exchequer in allocation of 122 licences for 2G spectrum

Former telecom minister A Raja reacts as he leaves the Patiala House Courts after he was acquitted by a special court in the 2G scam case, in New Delhi on Thursday. (PTI)

Former telecom minister A Raja reacts as he leaves the Patiala House Courts after he was acquitted by a special court in the 2G scam case, in New Delhi on Thursday. (PTI)

From Essar to Unitech, all corporates named in India's biggest graft case today hailed their acquittal saying their position of no wrongdoing in the 2G telecom spectrum allocation case has been vindicated.

While billionaire Anil Ambani-led Reliance Group issued a very short statement that it "welcomes court verdict", Unitech's Sanjay Chandra, who is in jail on orders of the Supreme Court for failure to allocate flats to owners said his companies continue to pay the price for a "fraudulently" foisted case.

A special court acquitted former telecom minister A Raja and business executives on charges of corruption and cheating in the alleged below-market-price sale of lucrative telecom spectrum licences in 2008 due to lack of evidence.

The case had led to Supreme Court in 2012 cancelling 122 licences sold to 8 companies, including the local joint ventures of Norway's Telenor ASA, UAE's Etisalat and Russia's Sistema, calling the 2008 allocation as flawed and influenced by those with money power.

"We are thankful to the Hon'ble Court for the judgement since it vindicates our stated position, and the Hon'ble Court has accepted it," an Essar spokesperson said in an emailed statement.

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Reliance and Essar group were accused of violating rules by having stakes in telecom companies while bidding for the licences. It was alleged that the new companies they floated were a front to secure new spectrum licences and resell them at a profit due to the boom in telecom sector. The companies consistently denied the charges.

"Reliance Group welcomes court verdict," a group spokesperson said in a statement.

Unitech Wireless, a subsidiary of real estate group Unitech, had got a pan-India telecom licence in early 2008 by paying the government Rs 1,658 crore under the infamous first-come, first-serve policy. In October that year, it sold 67.25 per cent to Telenor of Norway for Rs 6,120 crore.

"There was no wrongdoing on my part or on the part of my companies," Unitech's Chandra said in a statement. "However the damage suffered by me and the companies continues to affect the health and financial status of my company and they continue to pay the price for this case having been foisted on us fraudulently and without any basis."

Stated that the group had placed a robust defence rebutting each and every charge against, Chandra said he will use the opportunity to rebuild the company and "focus on delivery to all our home buyers".

Besides letting of Reliance ADA Group officials Gautam Doshi, Hari Nair and Surendra Pipara, Essar Group promoters Anshuman and Ravi Ruia, the court had also acquited two promoters of D B Realty Ltd, Shahid Balwa and Vinod Goenka.

Abu Dhabi-based Etisalat bought a 45 percent stake in Balwa's Swan Telecom for about $900 million in September 2008, renaming it Etisalat DB the following year.

DB Realty in a statement said its managing directors and key managerial personnel, Goenka and Balwa have been released from all allegations.

"The company has in the past clarified that the company was not connected with the same, though the matter involved one of the telecom companies wherein promoters of the company held the stake," it said.

Goenka said" "Justice has been done".

In its charge sheet filed in April 2011 against Raja and others, CBI had alleged that there was a loss of Rs 30,984 crore to the exchequer in allocation of 122 licences for 2G spectrum which were scrapped by the Supreme Court on February 2, 2012. The CAG had put the loss to the exchequer at Rs 1.76 lakh crore.

Shares of companies affected by the case rose after the verdict. Reliance Communications Ltd gained as much as 13.3 per cent before closing at Rs 17.97 on the BSE, a gain of 4 per cent over previous day closing.

DB Realty jumped nearly 20 per cent to close at Rs 43.70 while SUN TV Networks Ltd rose as much as 6.8 per cent before closing at Rs 982.10, a gain of 4.5 per cent over previous day close.

Others who were acquitted included Loop Telecom promoters Kiran Khaitan, her husband I P Khaitan.
PTI

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