In a verdict that will surely go down in history books, the Supreme Court canceled all 2G spectrum licenses issued in 2008, claiming them as “totally arbitrary and unconstitutional.” The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) found that bribes and rule violations were part of 122 telecom licenses issued in 2008 as was reported by The Times of India. Foreign investors including Telenor (Norway), Etisalat (Abu Dhabi), Sistema (Russia), NTT DoCoMo (Japan), are among the ones likely to be be affected by the verdict, these operators hold less than 10-percent of market share. The ruling , it is believed is likely to upset future interest from foreign investors, though it’s unlikely to affect consumers: it will take a minimum of four months before the Supreme court orders any operations to be shutdown . If you are using a number that belongs to one of the networks in the below mentioned circles, it is advised that you move your number to another operator to avoid any inconvenience as mobile number portability won’t be affected .
The ruling has surprised people across all fields as rulings against fraud and treachery are rare in the country. P Chidambaram, former Finance minister in the year 2008, may go under the hammer as a result of the verdict, and might have to face prosecution. Existing telecom companies will either have to pay the difference between the “market rate” and the original purchase price, or may have to buy the licenses again in a new auction.
Due to the seriousness and large scale of the issue the court will continue to release rulings on different aspects of the case. Regardless of what the ultimate outcome is , this judgement is sure to raise some questions for foreign investors who plan to do business in India: as of now, the risk may be far too high.
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