New Delhi: Dealing a major blow to the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) Government the Supreme Court on Thursday cancelled all 122 telecom licences allotted under the 2G spectrum 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.
A penalty of Rs 5 crore has 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.
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.
The Supreme Court also asked the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to give status report on the investigation into the 2G scam to the Central Vigilance Commission.
Raja has been accused of masterminding the multi-crore 2G scam and is presently lodged in the Tihar Jail in Delhi.
In another critical judgement, the Supreme Court referred the matter of whether the role of former finance minister P Chidambaram should be investigated back to the trial court of Justice OP Saini. This represents a breather for Chidambaram, but it does not lift the cloud over him.
The apex court also refused to direct the CBI to probe the alleged role of Chidambaram in the case and asked trial court to decide on the Home Minister within two weeks.
Interactive list of cancelled 2G licences