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SC to hear pleas of Bharti Airtel, its CMD Sunil Mittal today

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Apr 08, 2013 at 08:30am IST

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday will hear the case against Bharti Cellular's CMD Sunil Bharti Mittal. He is one of the accused in allocation of 2G spectrum on 2002. However Mittal has contended that he cannot be singularly blamed for the alleged acts of the firm.

A bench headed by Chief Justice Altamas Kabir will also be hearing Bharti Airtel's plea challenging the Delhi High Court order giving its nod to the Centre's decision holding the 3G roaming pact of the telecom major as illegal.

The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) on March 15 had issued a notification restraining Bharti from providing 3G intra-circle roaming facilities in seven circles where it did not have the spectrum and also levied a penalty of Rs 350 crore (Rs 50 crore per circle) for violating the licence terms and conditions.

SC to hear pleas of Sunil Mittal, Airtel today

The DoT on March 15 had issued a notification restraining Bharti from providing 3G intra-circle roaming facilities in 7 circles.

The telecom major has challenged the decision of the division bench of the high court which had set aside its single judge's March 18 order staying the DoT notification.

While challenging the special 2G court's order summoning him as an accused, Mittal has contended that criminal liability cannot be fastened on an individual for alleged acts of a firm.

"The special judge failed to consider the settled law in the context of vicarious criminal liability of Managing Directors/Directors and other officers of corporations that in the absence of specific statutory provisions making individual actors liable, there shall be no vicarious criminal liability imposed on any individual for acts of any corporation," the petition filed by Mittal said.

"Commission of an offence by raising a legal fiction or by creating a vicarious liability in terms of provisions of a statute must be expressly stated. The Managing Director or Directors of a company cannot be said to have committed an offence merely because they are holders of offices," it said.

Besides Mittal, special CBI judge OP Saini had also summoned two others - Essar Group promoter Ravi Ruia, who was then a director in one of accused company Sterling Cellular Ltd, and Asim Ghosh, then MD of accused firm Hutchison Max Telecom Pvt Ltd - whose name were not mentioned in the charge sheet.

(With Additional Information From PTI)

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