A two-member SC bench rejected the pleas of the telecom companies that they be tried in a magisterial court unlike other accused in 2G cases as they have not been charged under Prevention of Corruption Act
The Supreme Court on Monday dismissed the pleas of Essar Teleholdings and Loop Telecom challenging the special CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation) court’s jurisdiction to hold trial against them and their officials in the 2G spectrum case.
Over a year after the judgement was reserved, a bench of justices GS Singhvi and SJ Mukhopadhaya rejected the pleas of the telecom companies which pleaded that they be tried in a magisterial court unlike other accused in 2G cases as they have not been charged under Prevention of Corruption (PC) Act.
The bench, which had reserved its judgement in May 2012, said there was no merit in the plea and dismissed the same.
The companies and their officials are facing trial before the special CBI court constituted specially to hold trial in 2G scam case as the apex court had earlier refused to stay the proceedings against them.
The two telecom firms had said they have been named in the charge-sheet under Section 420 (cheating) and 120B (criminal conspiracy) of the IPC and the charges were triable by a magistrate and not by the special court constituted for hearing the 2G case.
Other accused named in the third charge sheet in 2G case are Essar Group promoters Anshuman and Ravi Ruia along with Loop Telecom promoters Kiran Khaitan, her husband IP Khaitan and Essar Group Director (Strategy and Planning) Vikash Saraf.
The companies and their promoters have denied any involvement in the scam.
The counsel appearing for Essar had said that even in the charge-sheet against them, CBI has said the offence was triable before a magistrate’s court but it was filing the charge-sheet before the special court as it was set up on the order of the apex court to deal with the 2G scam.
The counsel had said the 10 February 2011 order for setting up the special court exclusively for hearing the 2G case was delivered on the assumption that it was a case of corruption and the charge sheet would be filed under the PC Act.
17 other accused, including former telecom minister A Raja, his former private secretary RK Chandolia, former telecom secretary Siddharth Behura, DMK MP Kanimozhi and officials of Reliance ADAG, are also facing trial for their alleged involvement in the 2G case.
Vehicles were running in Delhi with certificates given on fraudulent papers with the knowledge of the public authority. This is the 124th in a series of important judgements given by former Central Information Commissioner Shailesh Gandhi that can be used or quoted in an RTI application
The Central Information Commission (CIC), while disposing an appeal, expressed shock over the fact that vehicles were running in Delhi on certificates obtained on fraudulent papers with the knowledge of the public authority.
While giving this judgement on 29 July 2009, Shailesh Gandhi, the then Central Information Commissioner, said, “The public authority has known for over seven months about this (vehicles running with certificates given on fraudulent papers) but continues to pretend that it is inquiring into the matter and these inquiries could be a timeless exercise allowing criminal acts to continue and proliferate.”
New Delhi resident GP Gupta, on 14 November 2008, sought information regarding issuance of licenses on fraudulent grounds from the Public Information Officer (PIO) in the Transport Department at the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (GNCTD), under the Right to Information (RTI) Act. Here is the information he sought...
1. Vide First Application dated 6 November 2008, appellant sought information on the following matters:
(a) ATR on offences and penalties under the Vehicle Registration Act and cancellation of Registration Certificate issued to vehicles bearing vehicle number (a) DL-3CH-9997; (b) DL-3CJ 6690; (c) DL-3CK-8567;(d) DL-6CA-7989. As per the appellant, one person namely Ankit Dhir s/o Pankaj Dhir r/o 20, Krishna Nagar, Safdarjung Enclave, New Delhi-110029 has got registered the aforesaid vehicles on the basis of the forged ration card no. 746532 FPS No. 5635 & Regd. No. 1964 of Circle No.9.
(b) ATR on action initiated against Ankit Dhir and MLO(SZ) and (CZ)
(c) ATR on sealing of the aforesaid vehicles at fake address and registration of FIR of cheating & forgery against Ankit Dhir.
2. Vide Second Application dated 6 November 2008 the appellant sought information on the following matters:
(a) ATR on offences & penalties under Vehicle Registration Act and cancellation of Registration Certificates of the Vehicle bearing vehicle no. DL-3CB-7010. As per appellant one person namely Santosh Kumar s/o Salik Ram r/o S-34/267 Harijan Camp, Lodhi Road, New Delhi-110003 have got registered Vehicle No. DL-3CB -7010 and has been granted driving license also, the address on vehicle Registration Certificate is fake.
(b) ATR on action initiated against Santosh Kumar and MLO (SZ, Shekh Sarai).
(c) ATR on offences and penalties under the Vehicle Registration Act and cancellation of Registration Certificate of the Vehicle No. DL-3CB-7010.
(d) ATR on sealing of Vehicle & Registration of FIR of cheating & forgery.
3. Vide First Application dated 14 November 2008 the appellant has sought information on the following matters:
(a) ATR on offences and penalties under Motor Licensing Act and Cancellation of Driving License & Registration of FIR of cheating and liable to be prosecuted under the Motor Licensing Act. Here appellant has stated that one Sandeep Singh s/o Ram Singh Thakur r/o R2-20/2A, gali no.5, main Sagarpur, New Delhi-110046 granted driving license no.PO 904200016751 on 24 April 2000 on fake personal particulars. Now he has changed his identity to Sandeep Thakur r/o B-3/472 Paschim Vihar, New Delhi-63 as per EPIC Card no. ACB042335 of electoral roll 2008 at 6 October 2008.
(b) ATR on verification of so called Sandeep Singh having PAN at different address.
4. Vide Second Application dated 14 November 2008 the appellant sought information on the following matters:
(a) Detailed particulars of driving license no.P09042000167651 dated 24 April 2000 in the name of Sandeep Singh s/o Ram Singh Thakur r/o Sagarpur, New Delhi-110046, DOB-22 October 1980.
(b) Detailed particulars of driving license no. P09012002245175 dated 22 January 2002 in the name of Ankit Dhir s/o Pankaj Dhir r/o 20, Krishna Nagar, Safdarjung enclave, New Delhi-110029; DOB 7 January 1979.
In his reply, the PIO stated...
1. The matter pertained to the Registering Authority/Motor Licensing Officer (SWZ), Palam, New Delhi. The report as received from the MLO/RA(SWZ), Palam, New Delhi, providing the requisite information duly signed by the MLO/ RA(SWZ), Palam, New Delhi was enclosed.
2. The said enclosure dated 28 November 2008 provides that Sandeep Singh s/o Ram Singh resident of RZ 20/2A holder of DL No. P09042000167851 was issued show-cause notice vide letter no. F1/ MLO/SWZ/08/1205 dated 17 October 2008.
Gupta, citing partial and unsatisfactory reply by the PIO and not providing the information sought under the RTI Act 2005, filed his first appeal.
There was no mention of any order by the First Appellate Authority (FAA).
Gupta, then approached the CIC with his second appeal.
During the hearing, Mr Gandhi, the then CIC noted that the appellant (Gupta) had complained about issuance of licenses on fraudulent grounds and furnishing false particulars at the time of registration of vehicles and at the time of issuance of driving licenses.
The PIO admitted that the complaints of fraudulent licenses were investigated and after following the due process, the licenses have been cancelled.
He stated, “Regarding the registration certificates alleged to have been obtained by furnishing wrong particulars, show-cause notices have been issued to the owners of the vehicles and the registration files pertaining to these vehicles have been kept in safe custody, whereas the department does not know where registration books are. The transactions on these registration numbers have been blocked in the software to prevent any further transaction of these vehicles. The information sought for by the appellant has been provided already to the appellant.”
While accepting that the information has been provided, Mr Gandhi said the Commission was shocked (by disclosure of such information) and by the fact that no complaints were been filed with the police by the authorities.
“Further, from the information provided it appears that vehicles could be running with certificates given on fraudulent papers with the knowledge of the public authority. The public authority has known for over seven months about this but continues to pretend that it is inquiring in the matter and these inquiries could be a timeless exercise allowing criminal acts to continue and proliferate,” the Commission said.
Since the information was provided by the PIO, the CIC disposed the appeal.
CENTRAL INFORMATION COMMISSION
Decision No. CIC/SG/A/2009/001481/4307
Appeal No. CIC/SG/A/2009/001481
Appellant : GP Gupta,
Respondent : Ajay Kumar Bisht,
Sr. Dy. Commissioner & PIO
State Public Information Officer,
Govt. of NCT of Delhi,
5/9 Underhill Road,
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