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Supreme Court orders telcos to cease operations

Posted on Feb 15, 02:29PM | IBNS

New Delhi, Feb 15 : The Supreme Court has ruled that unsuccessful bidders and telecom companies which opted out of participating in the first round of fresh auction for 2G spectrum last year will have to cease operations immediately.

"The telecom companies which have been unsuccessful in the bidding and those after the cancellation of the licences did not participate in the fresh auction are directed to cease from continuing from operation forthwith and the successful bidders will immediately start in their respective circles," the court said.

The court also said that telcos which were allowed to continue operations after scrapping of their licences by the February 2, 2012 judgement will have to pay the reserved price fixed for the licences in the November 2012 auction.

The bench, comprising justices G S Singhvi and K S Radhakrishnan, also clarified that the February 2012 judgement will not be applicable on telecom companies holding the spectrum in the 900 MHz band.

Earlier, reserving its order on the issue, the bench had said the firms which had not been able secure spectrum in the November auction, would not be allowed to continue their service.

In perhaps the biggest scam in Independent India, allegedly masterminded by former telecoms minister A Raja, spectrum was given away at throwaway prices in 2008 causing a potential revenue loss of up to Rs 1.76 lakh crore.

While Raja, a number of government and private sector officials and firms face trial, a landmark judgement by the Supreme Court last year had quashed 122 licenses issued under the sale.