SC says security given go-by in 2G

Bench reiterates Home Ministrys objections against two telecom firms

SC says security given go-by in 2G

“In two cases security angles are being probed. The Ministry of Home Affairs’ objection against the companies are very serious. They can become threat to internal and external security of the nation. You get huge FDI for compromising national security?” a Bench of justices G S Singhvi and A G Ganguly asked.

Although the court did not name the companies, it was clear that it was refrring to service providers like Etisalat DB Telecom and S-Tel against which the Home Ministry had expressed reservations.

“There is a security angle to it and if it turns out to be true then it means that security aspect has been compromised,” the Bench said, adding that while they were “not experts in these matters, if these things are not taken care of then they can even know Army operations of the country.”

The court’s observations came while hearing a petition filed jointly by various civil societies, including an NGO, Centre for Public Interest Litigation, Telecom Watchdog and Common Cause, and by Janata Party President Subramanian Swamy seeking the court’s direction to cancel all the licences issued to service providers during Raja’s tenure.

CBI probe

On Tuesday, the CBI informed a Delhi court that it has begun probing if the 2G spectrum scam compromised the country’s internal security and would apprise the Supreme Court of its findings on March 15.

Earlier on March 3, the Bench, which is monitoring the 2G spectrum allocation scam, had ordered the CBI to probe the restoration of spectrum licence to Chennai-based telecom operator S-Tel after its cancellation earlier on grounds of threat to national security.

It had also asked the agency to investigate UAE-based Etisalat as the Home Ministry had earlier expressed strong reservations to the Department of Telecommunication and the Union Finance Ministry regarding the foreign direct investment (FDI) made by it in the telecom sector.

The Finance Ministry had written to Etisalat that its proposal for enhancing FDI in India had been rejected by the Foreign Investment Promotion Board in view of the Home ministry’s reservation on it.

The grant of 2G spectrum allocation licence to Swan (now Etisalat DB) was questioned by Swamy on the ground of threat to national security and he had informed the court that the Home ministry had raised an objection to investment by it.

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