Apex court allows govt to finalise spectrum auction

Apex court allows govt to finalise spectrum auction

Apex court allows govt to finalise spectrum auction

The Supreme Court on Thursday allowed the Centre to finalise its just-concluded “fiercest and competitive" auction for telecom spectrum, fetching a whopping revenue of     Rs 1.09 lakh crore.

The court, however, said the finalisation of the auction was subject to the outcome of matters pending before it, in which the legality of the "design of the notice inviting tender (NIT)" for the spectrum has been challenged by major telecom players, including Bharti Hexacom Ltd and Reliance Telecom Ltd.

A bench of Justices Dipak Misra and Prafulla C Pant observed, “We cannot block so much of money” and modified its February 26 order. The court had then allowed the auction, that began from March 4, with the condition that it would not be finalised without permission.

The apex court on February 26 had allowed the government to go ahead with the auction of spectrum of bands 900, 1800 and 2100 Mhz for all states, which according to Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi witnessed a "fiercest" auction fetching a revenue of Rs 1.09 lakh crore.

Rohatgi said if the stay order was not modified, the Centre would face difficulties in collecting earnest money of Rs 28,000 crore by March 31 emerging from the auction, in which the successful bidders have to deposit the amount within 10 days.

The court put the matter for further consideration on April 16. Senior advocates P Chidambaram and Gopal Jain, appearing for the telecom players, contended that it was a compulsive bidding as against the competitive bidding as parties were obliged to bid because of their survival.

“The amount that has to be thought of being collected by the government, is factually incorrect, in as much as the bidders who are successful have to deposit the amount within 10 days from the completion of date of auction, that is, 25th March, 2015,” they said.

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