Airtel and Vodafone charge sheeted in Rs 846.44 crore spectrum scandal

Telecom Lead India: Airtel and Vodafone have been charge sheeted in the Rs 846.44 crore spectrum scandal.

According to CBI, the alleged conspirators are telecom majors Bharti Cellular (now known as Bharti Airtel), Hutchison Max Mumbai (now known as Vodafone India), Sterling Cellular (now known as Vodafone Mobile Services) and the then telecom minister Pramod Mahajan, then telecom secretary Shyamal Ghosh.

CBI’s charge sheet is alleging a criminal conspiracy that has caused the Indian Government a loss to the tune of Rs 846.44 crore.

Mahajan, who passed away in 2006, wasn’t charge sheeted.

CBI alleged that Shyamal Ghosh misused his position as a public servant and showed undue favor, which caused a loss of Rs 846.44 crore to the Government exchequer, and corresponding undue profit to the three accused mobile operators, and incidental profit to some telecom companies which weren’t a part of the conspiracy.

The agency said the loss was caused by charging only one per cent of Adjusted Gross Revenue (AGR) additionally, instead of charging the required additional two per cent of AGR for allocation of additional spectrum from 6.2 MHz up to 10 MHz.

CBI alleged that the decision to allocate additional spectrum was taken by Mahajan and Shyamal Ghosh on January 31, 2002, in undue haste, before the joint report, regarding congestion/service quality in the network area of the telecom operators, could be received by the Telecom Department (DoT), and could be submitted. The assessment was carried out between January 17 and 23, 2002, and the report submitted on February 1, 2002.

At present, it is known that senior officials like — Bharti Airtel chairman Sunil Mittal or Airtel director Akhil Gupta — will be questioned by CBI.

In 2002, Hutchison was managed by its CEO Asim Ghosh.

[email protected]