Swan Telecom defends itself in 2G case (Lead)

August 5th, 2011 - 9:08 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Aug 5 (IANS) Swan Telecom, listed as an accused in the 2G spectrum, told a special CBI court Friday that it had no prior information about the documents and bank guarantees required for the issuance of licences and the information was already in the public domain.

“The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) recommendation had already told the world that entry fee is not being revised,” Swan Telecom’s counsel Amit Desai said before special Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Judge O.P. Saini.

“The required papers for the telecom licences were already online, so the allegations that the company (Swan Telecom) had prior knowledge is incorrect,” he added.

Clarifying its role in the cut-off date, Desai said this issue has no relevance or connection with Swan.

“If there was a real conspiracy to be hatched, the company would have ensured the cut-off date was Sep 23 instead of Sep 25. Why would it (Swan Telecom) have even kept a little competition?” the defence counsel said.

He also added that if the company assumes the CBI allegation as true, this would be a “very interesting and strange conspiracy” where Swan lost seven circles for Unitech.

“So, should the company state that this was a conspiracy mixed with competition?” questioned Desai.

Desai further said that keeping all the papers for a business a company wants to get into can’t be judged as conspiracy.

“Just because we (Swan Telecom) approached the bank a little earlier and got all the bank guarantees and demand draft ready, we are conspirators,” the defence counsel asked.

“Moreover, it was not just Swan but many other big companies, who had their papers ready much before the cut-off date,” he said, adding “78 companies out of 122 were ready with their compliances much before”.

Denying allegations that the company misrepresented the facts in first-come-first-served policy, the counsel said: “Nowhere in the contents of the chargesheet it is mentioned that Swan misrepresented the facts. There is no evidence to prove the case.”

He added that the company cannot be held accused even after the agency has no evidence. “Just because CBI is a premier investigative agency, everybody believes that what they say is gospel truth.”

Saying that bringing the company under the criminal law is but a part of vested interest of rival companies, Desai continued: “I (Swan Telecom) am a company which has very respectable share holders and with the CBI levelling such serious allegations against us, the agency is hampering the future and image of the company.”

He added that the CBI must withdraw the name of the then Solicitor General of India G.E. Vahanvati as whatever he recommended in the interest of the policy was very obvious and any other legal advisor would have done so.

Besides, Desai also explained that the government did not revise the rates as it wanted new entrants to bring more competition.

“It is the government which has to think about the new entrants apart from the serious players and so it has to strike a balance… there is no judicial review of a decision making process,” he added.

Meanwhile, former telecom minister A. Raja’s daughter came to the court room Friday to meet her father. Dressed in pink, his daughter sat on Raja’s lap and hugged him. Raja held her hands, kissed her, kept talking to her and watched her as she drew cartoons on a piece of paper.

The company Thursday rubbished the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report on the allocation of airwaves saying that the loss mentioned in its report is notional and not actual.

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