New Delhi: Essar Group promoters Anshuman and Ravi Ruia were among five persons chargesheeted on Monday by the CBI in a Delhi Court in connection with the 2G Spectrum allocation scam.

Besides Ruias, the CBI also charged Essar Group director (Strategy and Planning) Vikas Saraf, Loop Telecom promoters Kiran Khaitan and her husband I P Khaitan.

The agency also named three companies-- Loop Telecom Pvt Ltd, Loop Mobile India Ltd and Essar Tele Holding as accused in the case.

All of them have been chargesheeted under Section 120 B (criminal conspiracy) and 420 (cheating) of the IPC.

Essar Group in a statement denied all allegations against its officials and the company. The 105-page charge sheet containing 398 documents was brought in five trunks before Special Judge O P Saini who will take cognizance of the charge sheet on December 17.

The chargesheet named 100 prosecution witnesses. This is the third charge sheet filed by the CBI in the case.
Essar Group promoters Anshuman and Ravi Ruia were among five persons chargesheeted on Monday by the CBI in a Delhi Court in connection with the 2G Spectrum allocation scam.

Besides Ruias, CBI also charged Essar Group director (Strategy and Planning) Vikas Saraf, Loop Telecom promoters Kiran Khaitan and her husband I P Khaitan.

The agency also named three companies-- Loop Telecom Pvt Ltd, Loop Mobile India Ltd and Essar Tele Holding as accused in the case.

All of them have been chargesheeted under section 120 B (criminal conspiracy) and 420 (cheating) of the IPC.

Denying all allegations against its officials and the company, the company statement said, "Essar has always maintained that it held only 2.15 per cent in Loop during the time of the application and therefore there is no violation of clause 8."

It also added that the chargesheet would not impact the business operations of the group.

Importantly, the Department of Telecom has neither complained of a clause 8 violation nor cheating as alleged by the CBI, it said.

Complied will all norms: Essar

Essar Group denying any involvement in the 2G spectrum allocation scam said it has complied with in totality with all conditions of telecom licences.

"We would like to reiterate that Essar has complied with all conditions of clause 8 under UASL guidelines (dealing with cross-holding) in totality and all the facts which have been given at the time of submitting the application for telecom licence i.e, shareholding/ownership have been independently verified by the government agencies," Essar Group said.

Essar Group is a responsible corporate citizen and has always complied with all government guidelines and the law of the land, the group said in a statement.

"The only charge filed by CBI is regarding the interpretation of a contractual issue. This relates to the question of violation of clause 8 under the UASL guidelines," Essar said.

The Group said despite the Ministry of Corporate Affairs and the Ministry of Law and Justice having confirmed that there was no clause 8 violation, the CBI has proceeded with the chargesheet.

"CBI and the Attorney General have gone contrary to the opinion given by the Ministry of Law and Justice and the Ministry of Corporate Affairs. The CBI has also gone against their internal legal advice," it said.

Essar will take legal recourse in this regard, the statement said.

In the last two chargesheets, CBI had named 14 persons and three companies as accused in the case which includes former Telecom Minister A Raja, his Private Secretary R K Chandolia, former Telecom Secretary Siddharth Behura, DMK MP Kanimozhi and DMK-run Kalaignar TV's Managing Director Sharad Kumar.

The agency had also chargesheeted six corporate honchos- Reliance ADAG Group Managing Director Gautam Doshi, its senior Vice President Hari Nair, Group president Surendra Pipara, Swan Telecom Promoters Shahid Usman Balwa and Vinod Goenka and Mananging Director of Unitech Ltd Sanjay Chandra.

The others, who were chargesheeted were Bollywood Producer Karim Morani, Directors of Kusegaon Fruits and Vegetables Ltd Asif Balwa and Rajiv Aggarwal.

Besides them, the three companies-Reliance Telecom Ltd, Swan Telecom Pvt Ltd and Unitech Wireless (Tamil Nadu) Pvt Ltd- were also chargesheeted.

The court had on October 22 framed charges against accused and their trial began on November 11.

All the 17 have been charged under various provisions of the IPC for criminal breach of trust, criminal conspiracy, cheating, forgery and the Prevention of Corruption Act. Barring Raja and behura, all the other accused are out on bail.

Chronology of events
Following is the chronology of events in the run up to CBI on Monday filing its third chargesheet naming Essar Group and Loop Telecom and their promoters.

May 2007: A Raja takes over as Telecom Minister.

Aug 2007: Process of allotment of 2G Spectrum along with UAS Licences initiated by Department of Telecom (DoT).

Sept 25, 2007: Telecom Ministry issues press note fixing deadline for application as October 1, 2007.

Oct 1, 2007: DoT receives 575 applications by 46 firms.

Nov 2, 2007: PM writes to Raja to ensure fair licence allocation and proper revision of fee. Raja writes to PM allegedly rejecting many of his recommendations.

Nov 22, 2007: Finance Ministry writes to DoT raising concerns over the procedure adopted.

Jan 10, 2008: DoT decides to issue licences on first-come-first-serve basis (FCFS), preponing cut-off date to September 25. Later in the day, DoT says those who apply between 3.30 and 4.30 pm would be issued licences.

2008: Swan Telecom, Unitech and Tata Teleservices sell off a part of their stakes at much higher rates to Etisalat, Telenor and DoCoMo respectively.

May 4, 2009:  NGO Telecom Watchdog complains to the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) on the illegalities in the 2G spectrum allocation to Loop Telecom.

2009: CVC directs CBI to investigate the matter.

July 1, 2009: Single judge of Delhi HC holds change of cut-off date as illegal. S-tel had moved the petition.

Oct 21, 2009: CBI files FIR against "unknown officers of DoT and unknown private persons/ companies and others".

Oct 22, 2009: CBI raids DoT offices.

Nov 16, 2009: CBI seeks help from Directorate General of Income Tax for information on lobbyist Niira Radia and records pertaining to middlemen in award of 2G spectrum licences.

Nov 20, 2009: Information by IT dept shows role of corporate players in influencing policies of DoT via illegal means. Shows Radia directly in touch with Raja.

March 31, 2010: CAG report notes "whole process of issue of licence lacked fairness and transparency".

May 6, 2010: Telephonic conversation between Raja and Radia made public by the media.

May 2010: Government constitutes GoM for allocation of 3G spectrum, reducing DoT under Raja as mere implementing body.

Aug 18, 2010: HC refuses to direct PM to decide on a complaint by Janata Party chief Swamy seeking sanction to prosecute Raja for his alleged involvement in 2G scam.

Sept 13, 2010: SC asks government, Raja to reply within 10 days to three petitions alleging Rs 70,000 crore scam in the grant of telecom licences in 2008.

Sept 24, 2010: Swamy moves SC seeking direction to PM to sanction prosecution of Raja.

Sept 27, 2010: Enforcement Directorate informs SC of probe against firms suspected to have violated FEMA. Says can't deny or confirm now Raja's involvement in the scam.

Oct 2010: SC asks government to respond to CAG report about the scam. Pulls up CBI for its tardy progress in probe.

Nov 10, 2010: CAG submits report on 2G spectrum to government stating loss of Rs 1.76 lakh crore to exchequer.

Nov 11, 2010: DoT files affidavit in SC; says CAG did not have the authority to question the policy decision as per which licence were issued to new players in 2008.

Nov 14-15, 2010: Raja resigns as Telecom Minister. Kapil Sibal given additional charge of Telecom Ministry.

Feb 10, 2011: SC asks CBI to bring under its scanner corporate houses which were beneficiaries of the 2G spectrum. Raja remanded to CBI custody for four more days by a special CBI court along with Balwa.

Feb 17-18, 2011: Raja sent to Tihar Jail under judicial custody. Balwa too jailed.

Feb 24, 2011: CBI tells Delhi Court Balwa facilitated transaction to DMK-run Kalaignar TV.

March 14, 2011: The Delhi High Court sets up special court to deal exclusively with 2G cases.

March 29, 2011: SC permits CBI to file charge sheet on April 2 instead of March 31. Two more persons - Asif Balwa and Rajeev Agarwal arrested.

April 2, 2011: CBI files its first charge sheet. Names Raja, Chandolia and Behura. Reliance ADAG Group Managing Director Gautam Doshi, its senior Vice President Hari Nair, Group President Surendra Pipara, Swan Telecom Promoters Shahid Usman Balwa and Vinod Goenka and Managing Director of Unitech Ltd Sanjay Chandra made accused. Three companies – Reliance Telecom Ltd, Swan Telecom Pvt Ltd and Unitech Wireless (Tamil Nadu) Pvt Ltd -- also chargesheeted.

April 25, 2011: CBI files second charge sheet naming DMK chief M Karunanidhi's daughter and MP Kanimozhi, 4 others.

Oct 23, 2011: Charges framed against all 17 accused.

Nov 11, 2011: Trial begins.

Nov 23, 2011: SC grants bail to 5 corporate executives --Nair, Doshi, Pipara, Chandra and Goenka.

Nov 28, 2011: Delhi HC grants bail to Kanimozhi, Kumar, Morani, Asif and Rajiv.

Nov 29, 2011: Special court grants bail to Shahid Balwa

Dec 1, 2011: Chandolia gets bail from special court.

Dec 12, 2011: CBI files third charge sheet. Names Essar Group promoters Anshuman and Ravi Ruia, its director (Strategy and Planning) Vikas Saraf, Loop Telecom promoters Kiran
Khaitan and her husband I P Khaitan. Also charge sheets Loop Telecom Pvt Ltd, Loop Mobile India Ltd and Essar Tele Holding.

(Agencies)