Loop Telecom Ltd plea for Lok Adalat settlement: 2G court reserves order
New Delhi: A special CBI court on Friday reserved for March 22 its order on a plea filed by Loop Telecom Limited seeking directions for referring the matter to Lok Adalat for "settlement" in a case arising out of the 2G scam probe.
Special CBI Judge O P Saini fixed the matter for orders after hearing the arguments advanced by Loop Telecom, CBI and the Department of Telecommunication (DoT) on the issue.
During the arguments, CBI said they were opposing the plea filed by Loop Telecom but the probe agency would abide by the order passed by the court.
"CBI is a party in the case. We will abide by court order. We are opposing the plea," senior public prosecutor K K Goel said.
Additional Solicitor General Rajeeve Mehra, who appeared for the DoT, also said the department was not a party to the case and they would abide by the court order.
"So far as these proceedings are concerned, the DoT is not a party... The DoT will abide by any order passed by the court," he said.
Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for Loop Telecom Ltd (LTL), argued the company was facing trial for the alleged offence under section 420 (cheating) read with 120-B (criminal conspiracy) and these offences are compoundable.
"If the DoT does not have a serious objection and they leave the matter to the court, then an attempt should be made and if it is settled it is fine otherwise it will come up before the court again," he said.
The court had on December 16 last year issued notices to the CBI and the DoT seeking their replies on LTL's plea.
The plea was filed after LTL, charge sheeted by CBI along with promoters of Essar Group and Loop Telecom, had approached the court for an appropriate direction to the Centre for compounding the case in Lok Adalat.
Lok Adalat is an alternative dispute resolution mechanism by which the parties involved in civil and compoundable criminal cases try to arrive at a compromise to settle their case. If the concerned parties do not arrive at a compromise, the matter is remanded back to the court for disposal.
During the hearing on Friday , Rohatgi also told the court that LTL's licence has already been cancelled and the firm has lost money as well as its reputation in the entire case and at best, the matter could be termed as a "commercial dispute".
The senior counsel also said no prejudice would be caused to CBI or DoT if an attempt is made to settle the case.
LTL, in its plea seeking settlement, had said "it is fair and reasonable on its part to file the present application seeking reference of the present matter to Lok Adalat even at the present stage of the trial. This is an appropriate case which requires to be referred to Lok Adalat for settlement."
As per the provisions of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), offence under section 420 (cheating) of the IPC is compoundable if both the complainant and the accused arrive at a mutual consent.
Essar Group promoters Ravi Ruia and Anshuman Ruia, Loop Telecom promoters Kiran Khaitan, her husband I P Khaitan and Essar Group Director (Strategy and Planning) Vikash Saraf are facing trial in the case along with three firms -- LTL, Loop Mobile India Ltd and Essar Tele Holding Ltd.
All of them have denied the charges levelled by CBI.
CBI had filed the charge sheet against them alleging they had cheated DoT by using Loop Telecom as a "front" to secure 2G licences in 2008.