C Sivasankaran, the owner of STel licenses, is reportedly planning to take the telecom department to the Supreme Court next month, seeking compensation of around Rs 3,400 crore. Loop Telecom and Videocon Telecom have already revealed their intentions to seek compensation after a special court last week acquitted all 18 individuals including former telecom minister A. Raja and DMK leader MK Kanimozhi, besides related companies, accused in the 2G case.
“I want my money back. I have lost Rs 3,400 crore that I had invested in the company overall. I had brought in equity and taken loans from Indian commercial banks and spent on network and people,” Sivasankaran was quoted by the Economic Times. He said that his company was penalised even though it was blameless. “The latest order will strengthen claims for a refund.”
Sivasankaran’s company STel had received telecom licences and spectrum in Assam, the Northeast, Bihar, Orissa, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir. He had subsequently sold a 42.7% stake to Bahrain Telecommunications (Batelco) for around $175 million. Batelco sold the stake back to its Indian partner for $175 million after STel’s licences were cancelled along with other licenses.
Batelco had won an international arbitration order claiming damages of around $211 million from Sivasankaran.
STel had operations in Orissa, Bihar, Himachal Pradesh, North East and Assam, and it was in the process of launching its services in Jammu and Kashmir when its licensed got cancelled. It had 3.6 million subscribers as of February 2012.
Previously various reports said that Loop Telecom would restart legal proceedings on two fronts seeking damages from the Indian government after the Special CBI Court acquitted its promoters IP Khaitan and Kiran Khaitan. Videocon Telecom, on the other hand, is said to be preparing to fast-track its case filed against the government in the telecom tribunal in 2015, where it had sought damages worth going up to Rs 10,000 crore due to loss of business.
Besides STel, Videocon Telecom and Loop Telecom, Sistema Shyam Teleservices, Etisalat DB Telecom, Unitech Wireless (Telenor India), Idea Cellular-Spice and Tata Teleservices had lost licenses in 2012.
Former telecom minister A. Raja and DMK leader MK Kanimozhi were acquitted by a special court in the 2G spectrum scam case last week. The Special CBI Court also acquitted then telecom secretary Sidhharth Behura and Raja’s personal assistant RK Chandolia for helping the minister in handing out the licences. Special CBI Court judge OP Saini, who had on December 5 fixed Dec 21 for the verdict in the 2G spectrum allocation scam, today said that the opposition failed miserably to provide evidence. He was hearing three cases related to the 2G spectrum scam— one filed by the ED and two by the CBI.