The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into the additional spectrum allocation case of 2002 was “bogus” and a "cock and bull story based on gossip” as the grant of surplus radio waves to three private companies did not cause any loss to public exchequer, senior Supreme Court lawyer Harish Salve told a special court.
Salve also contested the CBI charge that former Telecom Secretary Shyamal Ghosh abused his official position to favour three private telecom companies - Hutchison Max (P) Limited, Sterling Cellular Limited and Bharti Cellular Limited - in allocation of surplus spectrum.
The grant of additional spectrum, which was not being used by the defence forces and “lying waste”, would have actually caused gain to the government, he argued, appearing on behalf of accused Bharti Cellular Ltd.
“Giving me spectrum causes gain to government and not loss. . Spectrum is still there. It is not like hydrocarbon or coal which will exhaust. If you (government) do not give it to me, you cause loss but if you give it to me, you will cause gain,” Salve told special CBI Judge.
He argued that there was no question of favour in the case as the spectrum was allocated to “everybody”, including public sector firms MTNL and BSNL.
"Abuse is when you favour someone and do not give it to others. Here, everybody got the spectrum, including the PSUs. So where is the favour?" he asked.