Supreme Court of India (Reuters photo).
The Supreme Court is expected to decide today whether Sunil Bharti Mittal, the chairman and managing director of Bharti Cellular Ltd and Ravi Ruia, the promoter of Essar Group, will face trial in the additional spectrum case.
The two had been summoned as accused by a special court hearing the case involving the allocation of additional spectrum in 2002. Their names had not figured in the chargesheet submitted by the Central Bureau of Investigation, which was handling the case.
Maintaining there was "enough material" to proceed against them in the case, the special court had summoned them on March 19, 2013.
Mr Mittal and Mr Ruia had approached the Supreme Court, challenging the order.
Mr Mittal's lawyer argued that he could not be held "vicariously liable" for a criminal offence of a company unless there was evidence.
Mr Ruia's lawyer maintained that he was not connected with the day-to-day affairs of the company allegedly involved - Sterling Cellular Ltd - and he had been wrongly summoned.
In April 2013, the Supreme Court had given them a breather, saying the hearing against them will remain "postponed" until further orders.
The case relates to alleged irregularities in allocation of additional spectrum - 10 Mhz instead of 6.2 Mhz - during the NDA rule.
Besides Mr Mittal and Mr Ruia, the lower court had also summoned Asim Ghosh, the then Managing Director of another firm that was allegedly involved -- Hutchison Max Telecom Private Limited.
Mr Ghosh had also not been named as an accused in the CBI chargesheet.