2G: Trial begins with examination of Reliance-ADAG executives

Arun S New Delhi | Updated on March 12, 2018

Former Minister for IT and Communications, Mr A. Raja, being taken to the court by the CBI officials from CBI headquarters in New Delhi. (file photo)   -  The Hindu

The trial in the 2G spectrum case began on Friday before a packed Special Court with the CBI examining two witnesses who are executives of the Reliance-Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group (R-ADAG).

It was alleged that Swan Telecom, an accused in the case, was ‘ineligible’ to apply for the 2G spectrum and was “just a mask” for Reliance Telecom Ltd (RTL), an R-ADAG firm. RTL is also an accused in the case.

The two prosecution witnesses were -- Mr Anand Subramaniam, Vice President of Reliance Capital and Mr A N Sethuraman, Group President of R-ADAG.

Both the witnesses confirmed that they know R-ADAG executives (and accused in the case) Mr Gautam Doshi, Mr Hari Nair and Mr Surendra Pipara.

However, during cross-examination Mr Subramaniam said he did not name in his statement to the CBI the group chairman Mr Anil Ambani, and other executives including Mr Amitabh Jhunjhunwala, Mr Sam Ghosh, Mr Vishwas Joshi and Mr Ramesh Venkat. He also said he was not aware whether Mr Anil Ambani was the chairman of Swan Telecom at any point of time.

In the recorded statement during examination, he said some “cheques were issued from the account of Reliance Communications Ltd in favour of Swan Telecom (P) Ltd.”

He said, “I signed the documents (account opening form for Swan Telecom and letter to HDFC Bank for this) as there was a board resolution in our favour including myself.” However, he added, “I do not recollect as to under whose instructions I signed this letter.”

During cross-examination, he said, “I do not recollect as to for how many companies I had been authorised signatory since 2001.”

To another question, he said by signing a document “on behalf of Reliance Communications Ltd (part of ADAG) despite being on the payroll of Reliance Capital Ltd, I have not committed any irregularity or crime.” He added, that “It is a normal practice in private sector to be on the payroll of one company and to be authorised signatory for many other companies. This is done for normal business convenience.”

He said it was correct that the various ADAG companies keep funding each other for business transactions and that these companies keep finding outside companies also.

He also said he had no knowledge regarding the shareholders of the companies and the nature of their shareholding. He added that he did not show the CBI any proof of himself and his colleagues being authorised signatories.

Mr Sethuraman said he knows the companies Swan Capital Pvt Ltd and Swan Telecom Pvt Ltd. When shown a forwarding letter to the Telecom Department, he said it was a covering letter for an application for UAS licences for Jammu and Kashmir service area. He said the application bears his signature and the rubber stamp of Swan Capital.

Though Mr Subramaniam’s examination and cross-examination were completed, Mr Sethuraman’s examination was only partly completed. The trial will resume on November 14.

Published on November 11, 2011

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