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08 December 2023

122 telecom licences cancelled in India


India's Supreme Court on Thursday scrapped 122 telecom licences awarded in a 2008 sale that has become a major corruption scandal rocking the government.

"Licences after January 2008 are quashed," Justice G.S. Singhvi told the court in Delhi. "The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India will make fresh allocations by auction."

Mis-selling of the second-generation (2G) mobile licences was estimated by the country's public auditor to have cost the treasury up to ê40 billion in lost revenue.

The minister in charge of the sale, A. Raja, is currently on trial accused of fraud and cheating, one of several corruption cases to have buffeted the government of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

Raja, a member of the DMK, a regional party in the Congress party-led national coalition, is suspected of rigging rules over the sale of the licences to favour some firms in return for kickbacks.