India cancels 122 2G licenses

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The Supreme Court of India on Thursday cancelled 122 2G spectrum licenses controversially handed out by former Telecom Minister A Raja in 2008.

While delivering three important judgments in the 2G case, Justices G S Singhvi and A K Ganguly stated that there was no need for a Special Investigation Team to monitor the 2G scam probe. The court said the Central Bureau of Investigation, which is probing the case, would submit its report on the 2G scam probe to the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC). The CVC would examine the CBI report and give its report to the Supreme Court in a sealed cover, the apex court stated.

As for then-Finance Minister and current Home Minister P Chidambaram, the apex court left it to the trial court to decide whether he should be probed in the 2G scam.

The apex court’s decision affects 11 telecom companies with a combined market share – in terms of active subscriber base – of 5% or less. The impacted companies include Spice (four licenses), Uninor (22 licenses), Loop Telecom (21 licenses), Idea (nine licenses), Videocon (21 licenses), Swan Telecom (13 licenses), Tata Teleservices (three licenses), Sistema Shyam (21 licenses) and STel (six licenses) among others.

The court verdict has also affected the stocks of companies whose licenses have been cancelled. While the stocks of Unitech and DB Realty dropped, the older telecom players like Bharti Airtel benefitted.

Meanwhile, the Indian telecom regulator said that it will first study the entire judgement before outlining its impact on the customers.

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