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    Govt not to challenge SC order on 2G licences

    New Delhi: The Government will not challenge the Supreme Court order cancelling 122 new 2G licences, but the Government is trying to buy time on June deadline of auctioning of cancelled licences through a Presidential refrence under Article 143, said sources.

    The sources also said that the Presidential refrence is an attempt by the Government to reassure the affected telecom companies without getting its hands dirty.

    The Supreme Court on February 2 cancelled the 122 telecom licences allotted on or after January 10, 2008. All additional spectrum given to incumbents on or after January 10, 2008 have also been cancelled.

    While cancelling the licences the Supreme Court ruled that 85 out of the 122 licences were outside the eligibility criteria for allocation. The apex court said that the 122 licences for 2G spectrum were granted in an arbitrary and unconstitutional manner.

    The licences, which were allotted by former telecom minister A Raja, will be cancelled in four months from now and the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) must go in for a fresh issue of licences during this period, the apex court observed.

    The licences cancelled include 21 of Videocon, 22 of Unitech Wireless Ltd (Uninor), nine of Idea, 21 of Loop, six of S-Tel, 21 of Sistema, three of Tata, 13 of Swan and two of Allianz.

    A penalty of Rs 5 crore has also been imposed on Unitech Wireless Ltd (Uninor), Swan Telecom and Tata Telecom. A penalty of Rs 50 lakh has also been imposed on Loop, S-Tel, Allianz and Sistema Shyam.