This Article is From Feb 17, 2011

2G spectrum scam: CBI questions Anil Ambani

New Delhi: The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) questioned Anil Ambani in the 2G scam inquiry today.

CBI sources said Ambani was questioned in connection with his company Reliance Communications being looked at as a beneficiary of 2G spectrum licence, as part of the investigating agency questioning all telecom players that got licences. 

The key issue the agency wanted to ask Anil Ambani is about Reliance Communications' investment in Swan Telecom. The CBI also wanted to check if Reliance met all the eligibility norms or if they were favoured by then Telecom Minister A Raja.

The sources said Anil Ambani had been asked to come in at 5 pm, but he arrived early at the CBI headquarters and was questioned for three hours. Sources add, Ambani answered all questions but refused to confirm if they were satisfied.

Anil Ambani's Anil Dirubhai Ambani Group (ADAG) has issued a statement that he was not summoned and that he had merely met CBI officials, during a weekly visit to Delhi, to clarify on "ongoing issues." (Read: Full ADAG statement)

The statement sought to underscore that, "neither Reliance Telecom, nor RCOM, nor any Reliance ADA Group individual, company or affiliate held even a SINGLE share in Swan Telecom Ltd., at the time of grant of the 2G license to them in January 2008, or at any time thereafter...Neither Reliance Telecom, nor RCOM, nor any Reliance ADA Group individual, company or affiliate has obtained any monetary gain or other benefit, directly or indirectly, from the grant of 2G license to Swan Telecom in January 2008." 

The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has earlier said in a report that Swan Telecom, which got 2G licences, appeared to be acting as a front company for Reliance Telecom, a 100 per cent subsidiary of Reliance Communications or RCom.

As per existing rules, no telecom operator is allowed to hold more than 10 per cent stake in another service provider in the same circle, directly or indirectly. However, in all 13 circles where Swan bagged licences, Reliance was already present. The CAG has calculated that inclusive of preferential shares equivalent to a 0.9 per cent stake, RCom had a 10.71 per cent participating interest in Swan.

But RCom has maintained that while it held a 9.9 per cent equity stake in Swan through Reliance Telecom till December 5, 2007, it had offloaded the shares prior to the award of a telecom licence to Swan on January 10, 2008.

The CBI is inquiring into why Anil Ambani pulled out of Swan Telecom. 

The promoter of Swan Telecom, Shahid Balwa, was arrested last week and has summoned and questioned his partner Vinod Goenka.

The CBI has also questioned Sanjay Chandra of Unitech and top officials of other telecom companies that got 2G spectrum licences.