SC asks govt to appoint UU Lalit as prosecutor in 2G case

The apex court said that Mr Lalit will be at liberty to choose his team of prosecutors from the panel of advocates working for the CBI. Earlier, the Centre had objected Mr Lalit's appointment as Special Public Prosecutor saying he did not meet the eligibility criteria for the task

New Delhi: The Supreme Court today directed the government to appoint senior advocate UU Lalit as Special Public Prosecutor for the trial of the second generation (2G) spectrum allocation case involving former telecom minister A Raja and others, reports PTI.

The apex court said that Mr Lalit will be at liberty to choose his team of prosecutors from the panel of advocates working for the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) which said it will file its supplementary charge-sheet by 24th April in the case.

The court said the agency can nominate its advocates to assist Mr Lalit in the trial. Earlier, the Centre had objected to the appointment of Mr Lalit as Special Public Prosecutor saying he did not meet the eligibility criteria for the task.

A bench comprising justices GS Singhvi and AK Ganguly made it clear that the trial will be held on a day-to-day basis and no adjournments would be granted.

It said that no other court will entertain any petition or application relating to the case other than the apex court.

Senior advocate KK Venugopal, appearing for the CBI, said the agency will file its supplementary charge-sheet by 24th April.

The CBI had on 2nd April filed its first charge-sheet against Mr Raja and eight others as well as three telecom companies under various provisions of IPC and the Prevention of Corruption Act.

The Centre had raised technical objections to Mr Lalit's appointment saying that he should have worked under the state or the Union government for at least seven years to be eligible as the case has been filed under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act.

Mr Venugopal had submitted that Mr Lalit had been in the lawyer's panel for the Maharashtra government and the Centre for 15 years and five years respectively and he fulfils the criteria.

But Attorney General GE Vahanvati had submitted that being in the panel is not sufficient and one should be the government's standing counsel for seven years.

The court had said that the Act does not mention the word "standing counsel" and the objection raised was highly technical which should be given "reasonable" interpretation.

Mr Vahanvati had said there were some apprehensions that Mr Lalit's appointment as the Special Public Prosecutor could be challenged at any stage and it may derail the entire prosecution of the case.

The agency had on 1st April informed the apex court that Mr Lalit will be appointed as Special Public Prosecutor for assisting the special court, set up for the exclusive trial of the 2G spectrum case.

Maintaining that in the given circumstances, Mr Lalit was the best choice as CBI's special public prosecutor, Mr Venugopal had pointed out that he had a vast experience in various criminal laws.

The agency in its first charge-sheet alleged that Mr Raja, former telecom secretary Siddharth Behura, Mr Raja's personal secretary RK Chandolia, Shahid Usman Balwa and Sanjay Chandra entered into a conspiracy for manipulating the procedure for allocation of spectrum with the aim of favouring companies like Swan Telecom and the Unitech Group.

Others named in the charge-sheet include Vinod Goenka, a director of Mumbai-based DB Realty, which was also the promoter of Etisalat DB, Sanjay Chandra, Managing director of Gurgaon-based real estate company Unitech and Unitech Wireless (Tamil Nadu) Pvt Ltd and Gautam Doshi, Hari Nair and Surendra Pipara, group managing director and two senior vice-presidents of Mumbai-based Reliance Telecom Company.

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SN Subrahmanyan to be elevated to L&T Board

SN Subrahmanyan, 51, is a civil engineer with post graduate qualifications in business management

The board of directors of Larsen & Toubro (L&T) has approved the elevation of SN Subrahmanyan as a whole-time director, with effect from 1 July 2011. Mr Subrahmanyan is currently senior vice president and head-buildings & factories and infrastructure independent companies. This induction is a part of L&T's succession plan.

The construction businesses of L&T are currently being headed by KV Rangaswami, whole-time director & president (construction), who will retire from the board of the company in June 2011.

Mr SN Subrahmanyan, 51, is a civil engineer with post graduate qualifications in business management. He joined L&T in 1984 starting off as project planning engineer, and was soon handpicked for senior responsibilities.

Mr Subrahmanyan's notable achievements include playing a pivotal role in securing and managing EPC contracts for construction of four major international airports in India at Bangalore, Hyderabad, Delhi and Mumbai.

The Buildings & Factories business has grown rapidly under Mr Subrahmanyan's leadership, and has executed many prestigious jobs such as ICICI Bank, National Stock Exchange Buildings and Tidel Park.

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Govt proposes to renew telecom licences every 10 years: Sibal

Besides advocating renewal of telecom licences every 10 years, telecom minister Kapil Sibal also called for liberal mergers and acquisitions and a minimum of six competitors in each circle in the New Telecom Policy-2011

New Delhi: Amid controversy over allocation of spectrum and grant of telecom licences, the government today said all licences are proposed to be renewed after 10 years instead of 20-year period earlier, reports PTI.

"The telecom companies under the proposed New Telecom Policy (NTP)-2011 will have to file an application 30 months prior for the renewal of the telecom licenses and it (the licence) will be renewed for 10 years unlike 20 years as of now," telecom minister Kapil Sibal said.

The minister said this while unveiling the road contours of the New Telecom Policy-2011 and Department of Telecom's (DoT) 100-days action plan and achievements.

Mr Sibal, who took over the reigns of the ministry after the unceremonious exit of his predecessor A Raja, had on 1st January initiated the plan to formulate the NTP-2011.

The minister said the DoT will hire agencies for regular audit of spectrum and its usage to ensure proper utilisation of scarce natural resource.

The NTP-2011, among other things, calls for liberal mergers and acquisitions and a minimum of six competitors in each circle, including BSNL.

"Spectrum sharing should be considered to finalise the new policy," Mr Sibal said.

The DoT has also announced formation of a committee for the National Spectrum Act, headed by retired judge Shivraj V Patil.

The DoT has also formed a broadband committee to look into the issues related to national broadband plan headed by telecom expert and advisor to the prime minister, Sam Pitroda.

Mr Sibal, while expressing confidence that NTP-2011 will be finalised by year-end, said spectrum will be delinked from licence.

The government is yet to decide on the pricing mechanism for second generation (2G) spectrum, he said when asked whether it has worked out a formula to recover additional amount from the telecom operators who were awarded 2G licences.

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