New Delhi, March 2: The Centre has told the Supreme Court that telecom companies are at war, an open secret that has now been acknowledged officially in language the government usually reserves to describe hostilities between nations.
Language came under the spotlight once more today with the court frowning on A. Rajas choice of words while communicating with the Prime Minister.
There is some type of war which is going on among the service providers in the sector. Some of them are supporting the government policy (on 2G spectrum) and some of them are opposing, additional-solicitor general Indira Jaising told a bench of Justices G.S. Singhvi and A.K. Ganguly.
Jaising made the statement as she wanted the courts permission to make the governments submission after all other parties holding divergent views finished their arguments.
I would request the court to adopt this procedure as some of the companies would be in favour and others would oppose the government policy. It would be better for the government to argue after hearing the stands of the companies, she said.
However, the bench rejected the plea, saying the most important aspect of the case related to the governments policy and it should first make its stand clear. All the companies are beneficiaries of your policy. So, no one would oppose you (the government), the bench said.
Raja, the jailed former telecom minister, was criticised by the court for using intemperate and objectionable language in a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on spectrum allocation.
The apex court said it was anguished over the tone and tenor of Rajas letter to the Prime Minister in which words like unfair, discriminatory, capricious and arbitrary were used.
Decorum required that the language must be polite and temperate, the bench said, adding that it amounted to showing disrespect to the highest political authority of the country.
The bench was referring to the letter written by Raja on December 26, 2007, in which he bypassed and overruled the Prime Ministers advice to defer the allocation of 2G spectrum by a few days.
The court asked telecom regulator Trai to furnish a report on the purported loss to the government from the allotment of 2G spectrum at throwaway prices under a first-come-first-served policy pursued by Raja.
The bench asked Jaising to place the report prepared last month.
Idea officials quizzed
The CBI today quizzed four top Idea Cellular executives, including CEO Sanjeev Aga. They were questioned for three hours. Idea is one of the firms that got a spectrum licence during Rajas tenure, said a CBI officer.