NEW DELHI: Corporate czars like Anil Ambani, Sunil Bharti Mittal and business houses including Tatas came under intense judicial scanner for scam-related cases in 2013 with Subrata Roy Sahara facing the toughest time in Supreme Court which restrained him from leaving India.
ambaniThe year also saw several multinational giants like Finish mobile maker Nokia rushing to the high court in a high stake tax dispute while UK-based Vedanta Group, Korean steel major Posco and Swiss pharma firm Novartis were engaged in Supreme Court on issues ranging from industrial pollution, licenses and patent.
The patent battle saw domestic pharmaceutical firms getting a major boost with the apex court dismissing the plea of Novartis for patent of a cancer drug Glivec, paving the way for Indian companies to manufacture cheap generic drugs. So was the case in the high court where US-pharma major Merck Sharp & Dohme (MSD) failed to get any relief against Indian Pharma Glenmark which has come up with generic anti- diabetic medicines. An intra-court appeal against the order is pending before a larger bench. However, the year was tough for Sahara India Parivar as Roy was not only restrained from leaving India but he and his group firms were accused of taking the apex court “for ride” and “playing hide and seek” in the case relating to refund of Rs 20,000 crore to investors in which they are facing contempt proceedings.
More trouble came when the apex court said that contempt proceedings can go ahead against Roy and his two employees for interfering with the investigation into the 2G spectrum case. The 2G spectrum scam also forced Bharti Cellular CMD Sunil Mittal, Essar Group promoter Ravi Ruia and Reliance ADAG chief Anil Ambani to rush to the apex court in the wake of special CBI court issuing them summonses to appear as accused and witnesses respectively.
While Mittal and Ruia got a temporary relief from the apex court which stayed the proceedings against them in additional spectrum scam in which they have been summoned as an accused, Ambani failed to convince the court to give an order against the trial court directing him to appear as a witness in the 2G case involving former Telecom Minister A Raja and others, including three top executives of his group.
A day after ADAG chief’s testimony, his wife Tina Ambani also made her appearance in the Patiala house court and recorded her statement which was described as “better than her husband” in answering questions by special judge O P Saini. Government’s controversial decision to hike the price of natural gas reached the Supreme Court which agreed to examine the issue raised by CPI MP Gurudas Dasgupta who filed a PIL accusing Petroleum Minister M Veerappa Moily of allegedly favoring Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL), which have been refuted by them.
If 2012 was the year of 2G scam, then 2013 would be recorded in the history of the apex court for Coalgate case and CBI’s clamor to attain autonomy and free itself from its political masters to investigate top bureaucrats.-PTI