SC takes up corruption plea in 2G spectrum allotment

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court today asked the Centre and Communications and Information Technology Minister A Raja to answer charges leveled in a petition seeking the court to monitor a Central Bureau of Investigation probe into alleged irregularities in the 2008 sale of 2G spectrum licences.

A division bench with Justices G. S. Singhvi and A. K. Ganguly sent notices to the Ministry and Raja to reply within 10 days.
The bench also issued notices to the CBI, Enforcement Directorate and Income Tax Department on the petition filed by an NGO, the Centre for Public Interest Litigation (CPIL) and others.

The petitioners challenged the 25 May decision of the Delhi High Court dismissing its plea to monitor the CBI probe into the alleged role of the Minister in the sale of 2G spectrum licences in 2008. 
Appearing for CPIL, advocate Prashant Bhushan alleged that the CBI was not taking action despite having documents showing an alleged nexus between Raja and others.

The petitioners alleged that the DoT had given away 2G spectrum to 122 operators at a throwaway price of Rs 16.58 billion for pan-India licences on a first-come-first-served basis in January 2008.

Raja should have auctioned the 2G licences to telecom service providers, they said. It was alleged that some of those who were awarded licenses resold them for 5 to 6 times the amount.

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