A pedestrian walks past a Telenor store in central Stockholm
A pedestrian walks past a Telenor store in central Stockholm October 26, 2007.REUTERS

Telecom operators who were accused of being beneficiaries of 2G spectrum scam were dealt with a blow by the Supreme Court on Wednesday.

The apex court turned down the pleas of service providers seeking the review of its judgement to cancel 2G licences issued during the tenure of former telecom minister A Raja in 2008. Seven mobile operators moved the apex court challenging its order on Feb 2.

"We have carefully perused the review petitions and the record of the case and are satisfied that the ... judgment does not suffer from any legal infirmity warranting reconsideration of the issues decided," a two-judge panel said in its order dismissing the petitions.

The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) indicted a whopping scam of Rs 1.76 lakh crore in the distribution of 2G permits as it was given off at a throwaway price. Raja allegedly took an arbitrary manner in auctioning the licences in order to facilitate a few private companies.

On February 2, the Supreme Court delivered its verdict over the 2G case in which it ordered the government to impound all the 122 licences in 22 circles owned by eight players and carry out a fresh "scam-free" auction at the recommendations of Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI).

However, only about 7 percent of India's more than 900 million telecom users will be affected by the licence cancellation as there are more than a dozen players in India's fiercely competitive market.

Norway's Telenor, whose Indian joint venture will lose all its 22 permits, said it was "disappointed" by the dismissal of its review plea. "We will now move a curative petition," it said in a statement.

(With inputs from Reuters)

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