Trial begins in India telecoms scandal

NEW DELHI (AP) ? A trial has begun for 17 defendants accused in a major Indian corruption scandal involving the sale of telecommunications spectrum nearly four years ago.

India’s Central Bureau of Investigation filed charges against 17 people in the 2008 sale of cellular operating licenses, which resulted in losses of nearly $36 billion in potential revenue for the government.

The court opened the trial Friday by recording the statement of a prosecution witness.

A former telecoms minister, two ministry officials and several telecom company managers are accused of criminal conspiracy and causing the huge loss. They have said they are not guilty.