The Supreme Court will hear today Bharti Airtel Chairman Sunil Mittal's petition challenging the summons of a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) special court in a case related to alleged irregularities in the allocation of mobile phone bandwidth during the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance regime in 2002.
Mr. Mittal has been summoned by the court on April 11 as an accused along with Asim Ghosh, the former head of Vodafone-Essar; Ravi Ruia, one of the founders of Essar Group; and former telecom secretary Shyamal Ghosh.
Mr. Mittal moved the Supreme Court on April 1 for quashing the order against him.
The court had said that Mr Mittal, Mr Ruia and Mr Ghosh were "prima facie" in "control of affairs" of their companies which were named in the charge sheet by the CBI in the case.
Mr. Mittal, Mr. Ghosh and Mr. Ruia were named as the accused because "they represent the directing mind and will of each company", Judge O.P. Saini had said in his order.
Bharti had said at that time that while it was "saddened" at the summons being issued, it would "fight" the charges.
The CBI had filed a charge sheet on December 21, 2012, against Mr Ghosh and three telecom firms -- Bharti, Hutchison Max Telecom Pvt Ltd (now known as Vodafone India Ltd) and Sterling Cellular Ltd (now known as Vodafone Mobile Service Ltd).
In a separate case involving Bharti Airtel, the Supreme Court today granted temporary relief to Bharti Airtel in the third-generation, or 3G, roaming case, asking the government not to take action against the country's leading telecom service provider till this Thursday.
The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) had on March 15 asked the telco to terminate its 3G roaming pacts with other service providers like Vodafone and Idea in the seven circles in which it does not have licences to offer services. It had also fined Airtel Rs 350 crore for offering 3G services beyond permitted zones.
With inputs from agencies