Describing them as the “mind and nerve-centre” of the accused companies, the CBI on Wednesday justified a decision of the 2G trial court to summon Bharti Cellular CMD Sunil Bharti Mittal and Essar Group promoter Ravi Ruia in a case over allocation of additional spectrum in 2002.
“The fact that they were the controlling minds of the company are the matter of evidence. They have been summoned and they have an opportunity to seek discharge before the trial court. A person or a group of persons, who have been the guiding force behind a company, are responsible for the alleged criminal act of the company,” CBI counsel K K Venugopal told a bench led by Chief Justice H L Dattu.
He said that “guilty minds of directors or managers constitute the criminal offence of a company too” and that the CBI had evidence of Mittal’s meetings to get additional spectrum for Bharti Cellular Ltd. Venugopal said that such evidence was not available in Ruia’s case but the agency could investigate further.
The bench is hearing by Mittal and Ruia against an order of the 2G trial judge to summon them although the chargesheet did not name them. They have sought quashing of the summoning orders. The court will resume hearing on Thursday.