Manmohan to meet key ministers over 2G verdict

Manmohan to meet key ministers over 2G verdict

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is likely to hold a meeting with his key ministers in the next few days to discuss the Supreme Court order cancelling 122 2G (second generation) spectrum licences, official sources said Thursday.  

The ministers who are likely to be at the meeting include the UPA's (United Progressive Alliance) key trouble shooter, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, as also Law Minister Salman Khurshid and Communications Minister Kapil Sibal.

The prime minister is expected to discuss the fallout of the cancellation of 2G licences and its impact on the telecom sector. Sources have hinted that formulating of new guidelines for the sector will be discussed.

The sources said that a section of the government wanted the Supreme Court judgement to be reviewed.

The development comes after the prime minister sought the advice of Attorney General Goolam E. Vahanvati on the court order. The prime Minister is also said to have asked attorney general whether the existing telecom policy for allotting spectrum should continue till a new one is framed.

The Supreme Court order last week has sparked speculation that foreign investor sentiments may be hurt.

On Wednesday, the court verdict claimed its first casualty as Bahrain-based Batelco announced its exit from India, selling its stake in mobile firm STel.

Another telecom operator which has also hinted at exiting India business, Uninor's parent firm Telenor has, however, said it would fight for its rights.

Uninor's case has been taken up at a diplomatic level by Norway. The country's IT minister Tuesday met Kapil Sibal.

Even Russia's Communications Minister Igor Shchyogolev is reportedly to visit India to express the country's concern over its investments in the Indian firm, Sistema Shyam Teleservices (SSTL).

SSTL, a joint venture between Russia's Sistema and India's Shyam Group, which provides its services under the MTS brand name, has also said that it reserves the right to protect its interests by using all available judicial remedies and was mulling the option of filing a review petition in the apex court.

Sistema holds a 56.68 percent stake in the venture, while the Russian government holds 17.14 percent and the Shyam Group of India has another 23.98 percent. The remaining 2.2 is publicly owned.

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