Loop Telecom, which has been under the CBI scanner for irregulaities during the allotment of 2G licence under former telecom minister A Raja‘s tenure as well as for Essar violating holding norms in the company, has offered to return its licence/spectrum to the government. The Supreme Court is hearing a petition on the issue of cancelling licences granted by A Raja.
Loop, one of the operators which have been named along with others in the entire case as it was awarded licence in 2008 by A Raja, made an offer to the two-judge bench comprising Justices G S Singhvi and A K Ganguly.
Company counsel Ariama Sundaram submitted to the court that the government should auction Loop’s licence/spectrum in an open and unrestricted auction.
Their plea also proposes that in case the government receives a value which is higher than what has been paid by Loop, then the difference may be retained by the government and Rs. 1,454 cr (for licence fee) may be paid over to Loop.
The proposal was made during the hearing of the PILs seeking cancellation of the 2G spectrum allotted during the tenure of Raja.
He also said that in order to prove the bonafide intentions of the company, it be also given a right to match the highest offer received by the government so as to allow Loop an opportunity to preserve the investments it has already made in setting up the business.
In its detailed affidavit submitted earlier, the company had responded to all the allegations, including those in the CAG report regarding grant of licences to new operators by the Department of Telecom in 2008, and submitted that it has been in full compliance of the DoT guidelines.
Loop is facing charges of violation of cross holding of equity norms and the case is being investigated by various agencies under the monitoring of the Supreme Court. The CBI had earlier quizzed the Essar CEO amid allegations that Loop Telecom acted as a front company for Essar which has nearly 33 per cent stake in Vodafone-Essar joint venture.
“Loop had no intention that the government should lose any revenue on account of grant of licence/spectrum. Loop was granted the licences for 21 circles in accordance with the policy at a price fixed by the government.
“We feel that such a proposal will help the telecom sector to move ahead as this will help in ending the uncertainty for the business,” Loop counsel said, adding that the proposal, if agreed, be implemented in a time bound manner.
It told the court that the entire controversy, which has got created for no fault of its own along with the media attention, has in the normal course affected its business.
The new operators feel that if the government plans to cancel their licences based on allegations made against them then the same logic should apply to all licences which were handed out starting 2001.