Anil Ambani meets CBI officials in Delhi in 2G scam case
Moneylife Digital Team 16 February 2011

ADAG says Anil Ambani not summoned by CBI, but that its chairman met agency officials to discuss various issues related to the telecom sector, including licenses and related matters of the last decade

Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group (ADAG) chairman Anil Ambani met officials  the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Tuesday, in relation with the ongoing inquiry in the telecom spectrum case, the company said in a statement today.

"During the course of his weekly visit to New Delhi, Anil Ambani met CBI officials today to clarify ongoing issues, relating to telecom matters for the years 2001 to 2010, and virtually every telecom operator in the country," ADAG said. It, however, clarified that the CBI had not issued any summons to Mr Ambani.

The statement reiterated that no one from the ADAG group held any shares in Swan Telecom Ltd in January 2008, when the 2G licences were issued by the Department of Telecom (DoT) and that not a single individual from the group had obtained any monetary gain or other benefits from it.

According to some media reports, the CBI questioned Tata Realty and Infrastructure chief financial officer Kishore Saletore and managing director Sanjay Ubale, S-Tel's CFO Arun Mandhana and chief regulatory officer Rupinder Sikka, as well as Loop's chief executive Sandip Basu. However, this could not be confirmed from the CBI.

The Supreme Court has directed the CBI to check the eligibility criteria of operators who won 2G spectrum licences. Earlier, in a report, the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) said that Swan Telecom, which won telecom licences in 13 circles, appeared to have acted as a front company for Reliance Telecom, a unit of ADAG company Reliance Communications.

As per existing rules, no telecom operator is allowed to hold more than 10% shares in another operator in the same circle, directly or indirectly. However, the CAG said it had found that in all the 13 circles where Swan had got licences, RCom was also present and together with preferential shares equivalent to 0.9%, RCom had a 10.7% stake in Swan, which was against the prescribed norms.

But RCom has maintained that it held 9.9% stake in Swan through Reliance Telecom till December 2007 and that it had offloaded the stake before Swan was awarded telecom licences on 10 January 2008.

According to the CAG report, 85 out of 122 new licences did not meet the eligibility criteria prescribed by the Department of Telecommunications. Moreover, 45 out of these 85 licences failed to satisfy conditions of the main object clause in their Memorandum of Association. The government has already issued a show-cause notice to all 85 licence-holders asking them why their licences should not be cancelled.

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