SC asks CBI to probe restoration of 2G licence to S-Tel

S-Tel's application was cancelled earlier on grounds of threat to national security. The apex court also asked the agency to investigate the antecedents of the UAE-based Etisalat against which the home ministry had expressed reservations earlier

New Delhi: The Supreme Court today ordered the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to probe the restoration of second generation (2G) spectrum licence to Chennai-based telecom operator S-Tel after its cancellation earlier on grounds of threat to national security, reports PTI.

The apex court also asked the agency to investigate the antecedents of the UAE-based Etisalat against which the home ministry had expressed reservations earlier to the Department of Telecommunication (DoT) and the Union finance ministry regarding the foreign direct investment made by it in the telecom sector.

A bench of justices GS Singhvi and AG Ganguly asked the CBI to apprise it of their findings on 15th March.

Senior advocate KK Venugopal, appearing for the CBI, however, said as the issues concerning the two firms did not directly relate to the 2G spectrum allocation, the agency may take some more time to complete the probe.

Attorney general Goolam E Vahanvati, meanwhile, explained to the bench about the telecom policy adopted since 1994 and said the spectrum was allocated on the basis of the policy decision which does not envisage its allocation by auction.

He further said the licences cannot be cancelled only on the ground that the policy of auction was not followed. He said if there was any fault or gaps in implementation of the policy, it is for the court to take a view.

Justice Vahanvati said that a joint parliamentary committee and the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), too, were looking into the issue of the spectrum allocation and were also examining the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report on it.

The attorney general said the matter was also being probed by the CBI on the direction of the apex court, which is also monitoring the investigation.

The Supreme Court had detected yesterday the cancellation and subsequent restoration of 2G spectrum licence to S-Tel, while examining a relevant government file on the matter.

The file was placed before the bench on its direction after it was alleged by the petitioners, Centre for Public Interest Litigation (CPIL) that the Centre had adopted "arm- twisting" policy against the company for challenging DoT's policy in 2G spectrum allocation in the court.

"File placed by the additional solicitor general (ASG) says something more. It tells about a new dimension which is all together different," the court had remarked yesterday, while asking additional solicitor general Indira Jaising to bring the file on 3rd March as well during the hearing on a PIL by the CPIL for probe into the 2G spectrum allocation during former telecom minister A Raja's tenure.

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Ashok Leyland sales up 24.53% in February

Ashok Leyland reported a 24.53% jump in commercial vehicle sales to 9,800 units in February 2010, compared to the same month of the previous year

Hinduja Group flagship firm Ashok Leyland Ltd reported a 24.53% jump in commercial vehicle sales to 9,800 units in February 2010, compared to the same month of the previous year.

The company sold 7,869 units in February 2010, Ashok Leyland said in a statement.

Domestic sales stood at 8,984 units in February as against 7,092 units in the same month of the previous year, translating into a 26.67%, it added.

Exports increased by 5.01% to 816 units in February from 777 units in the year-ago period.

The company also reported a 28.18% rise in total domestic sales of medium and heavy commercial vehicles to 8,954 units in February 2011, from 6,985 units in the same month of the previous year.

On Thursday, Ashok Leyland ended 1.83% up at Rs53 on the Bombay Stock Exchange, while the benchmark Sensex gained 0.23% at 18,489.76.

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Tata Steel plant celebrates Founder’s day celebrations

Tata Sons chairman Ratan Tata celebrated the 172nd birth anniversary of Jamsetji Nusserwanji Tata at the Tata Steel factory in Jamshedpur

The 172nd birth anniversary of Jamsetji Nusserwanji Tata was celebrated at the Tata Steel factory in Jamshedpur, with Tata Sons chairman Ratan N Tata participating in the celebrations organised to honour the multi-billion dollar group's founder.

Tata, along with a host of dignitaries, including Tata Steel managing director HM Nerurkar, former managing directors B Muthuraman and JJ Irani and other officials, paid floral tribute to the founder.

A two-minute silence was observed in remembrance of the 1989 fire incident at the plant, in which several persons watching the Founder's Day celebrations lost their lives.

Tata spent about two hours in the works, watching the tableaux taken out by various divisions of Tata Steel, its associated companies and social organisations.

Later, the chairman interacted with employees of the company, as well as citizens of the 'Steel City'.

On Thursday, Tata Steel ended 1.72% down at Rs623.40 on the Bombay Stock Exchange, while the benchmark Sensex gained 0.23% at 18,489.76.

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