Companies

No case for proceeding against Reliance executives: Attorney General

Thomas K. Thomas New Delhi | Updated on March 24, 2013 Published on March 24, 2013

Attorney-General Goolam Vahanvati has said that there is no case for proceeding against key Reliance executives in the 2004 case, when the company was blamed for allegedly routing international telephone calls as local ones.

The AG was called to give his opinion in the case because there was a difference of opinion between the Director, Central Bureau of Investigation and Director of Prosecution, CBI.

The Director of Prosecution was in favour of challenging the order of the Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate, Chennai, which had allowed the discharge petition of the executives. On the other hand, Director, CBI did not recommended filing the revision petition against the individuals on the grounds that he agreed with the ruling of the Additional Chief Magistrate.

In his opinion submitted on March 1, the Attorney-General said, “Even the Director of Prosecution had said that the case against these persons is weak, I agree with the conclusion of the Director, CBI that this is not a case for proceeding further in revision against the said persons.”

The dispute dates back to 2004 when Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd complained to the Department of Telecom (DoT) that Reliance Infocomm (then managed by undivided Reliance Group) was routing international long distance (ILD) calls like local calls to avoid payment of access deficit charges (a fee then paid by private telecom companies to state-run telecom firms for running unviable rural telephone services; it’s abolished now).

The deficit charge on an ILD call back then was over Rs 4.25 a minute, which made it attractive for operators to route the calls through the grey channel. The charge-sheet said that this method of routing of calls led to a loss of Rs 32 crore to the exchequer.

The charge-sheet was filed in 2010 against Reliance represented by the then board of directors that included Manoj Modi, Akhil Gupta, Shankar Adawal and K. R. Raja.

In 2012, the Chennai court allowed discharge petitions of Modi, Adawal and Raja. While allowing the discharge petitions of the executives named, the court noted that BSNL and MTNL had recovered Rs 660 crore as penalty from Reliance. In addition, the DoT had also imposed a fine of Rs 150 crore on the company.

> thomas.thomas@thehindu.co.in

Published on March 24, 2013
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor