2G scam: CBI says it's investigating Anil Ambani

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New Delhi:  The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI)  has told the Supreme Court that it is investigating the alleged involvement of industrialist Anil Ambani in the telecom scam, also referred to as  the 2G scam because of the second-generation spectrum involved.

Three of Mr Ambani's senior-most employees are already in jail. They've been accused of using a front company to circumvent the rules in 2008 to get additional licenses and spectrum for Reliance Telecom. Telecom rules  dictate that a service provider cannot own more than 10% in another company operating in the same area.

The executives from Mr Ambani's group who have been arrested are Gautam Doshi (Group MD of ADAG), Surendra Pipara and Hari Nair. They allegedly ensured that Swan Telecom was set up with Reliance funding, and then sold their company's stake so that when the license to Swan was granted by former Telecom Minister A Raja,  Reliance did not violate the guidelines of ownership. The CBI says the executives have retracted earlier statements and may turn approver in the case.

In December 2007, Reliance sold its 9.9% stake in Swan to a company named Delphi Investment for 1.07 crores, a throwaway price according to the CBI which suggests that Delphi was a front for Reliance.  Delphi is incorporated in Mauritius.

Swan's promoters - Shahid Balwa and Vinod Goenka -have been arrested and charged with conspiracy. They've been accused of sending a 214-crore kickback to former  Mr  Raja through a maze of companies linked to them.  Mr Raja was arrested in February.

In a press statement, Reliance Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group said today, "None of the 3 Reliance executives charge-sheeted by CBI have at any stage till date expressed any desire to become approvers. The distorted media reporting on this issue is a very serious matter and will be acted upon. It is reiterated neither Reliance Telecom nor the promoters are beneficiaries of any telecom licences issued in January 2008."


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