Info-tech

CBI charges Raja, 8 others and 3 companies in 2G case

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on April 05, 2011

Former Minister for IT and Communications, Mr A. Raja,being taken to the court by CBI officials in the Capital.(file photo)

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Charge-sheet names Swan Tele, Unitech, Reliance Telecom; puts loss to exchequer at Rs 30,985 cr



The CBI on Saturday filed its first charge-sheet in the 2G spectrum allocation case before a Special Court here naming nine individuals and three companies. It said the wrongful acts of the accused deprived the exchequer of possible revenues amounting to Rs 30,984.55 crore.

The accused include the former IT and Communications Minister, Mr A. Raja; former Telecom Secretary, Mr Siddhartha Behura; Mr Raja's personal secretary, Mr R.K. Chandolia; Director of Swan Telecom (now Etisalat DB), Mr Shahid Usman Balwa; and Managing Director of Unitech Ltd and Unitech Wireless (Tamil Nadu) Pvt Ltd, Mr Sanjay Chandra. The other accused are Mr Gautam Doshi, Group MD, Reliance Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group; Mr Hari Nair, Senior Vice-President, Reliance ADA Group; Mr Surendra Pipara, Senior Vice-President, R-ADA Group and Reliance Telecom Ltd, and Mr Vinod Goenka, Director, Swan Telecom and Managing Director of DB Realty.

The three companies named are Swan Telecom, Unitech Wireless (both alleged to be ineligible applicants for 2G licence) and Reliance Telecom.

The accused face charges including that of criminal conspiracy, cheating, forgery and abetment under the Indian Penal Code as well as abuse of official position, criminal misconduct (by a public servant) and corruption under the Prevention of Corruption Act (PC Act).

“I am satisfied that there is enough incriminating material on record to proceed against the accused persons. Accordingly, I take cognisance of the case,” Special Judge, Mr O. P. Saini, said, after the charge-sheet was filed in a packed court room.

The 80,000-page charge-sheet, including annexures and copies, were produced before the court in seven sealed trunks. The CBI has named 125 witnesses, including the Attorney-General, Mr G.E. Vahanvati, and corporate lobbyist, Ms Niira Radia. It has also cited 654 documents, prosecutor Mr A K Singh said. The CBI had registered an FIR on October 21, 2009.

The copies of the charge-sheet were given to the four accused present in the court including Mr Raja, Mr Behura, Mr Chandolia and Mr Balwa. The court has issued summons to the other five for April 13. The copies of the charge-sheet will be given to them on that day.

The charge-sheet has accused Mr Raja of manipulating the priority list for awarding licences based on compliance of eligibility for letter of intent, instead of the existing practice whereby seniority is based on the date of applications.

“Raja entered into a conspiracy with other accused persons and companies with the purpose to issue Unified Access Licence to Swan Telecom and companies promoted by Unitech Ltd… He also misled the Prime Minister and incorrectly stated the opinion of the Ministry of Law and Justice to refer the matter to an Empowered Group of Ministers to be out of context,” the CBI said.

Manipulation and violation

The charge-sheet details CBI's investigation into five issues concerned with the 2G scam. These include how the cut-off date of applying for new licences was manipulated; violation of first-come-first-serve policy; how irregularities in awarding dual technology permission deprived Tata Teleservices from getting GSM spectrum; how Reliance Telecom concealed its association with Swan Telecom; and how the exchequer was cheated of revenues by not revising the entry fee.

The CBI said investigation has also revealed that Dynamix Realty, a partner of Mr Balwa's DB Realty, paid Rs 200 crore to Kalaignar TV Pvt Ltd during December 2008-2009 through Kusegaon Fruits and Vegetables Pvt Ltd and Cineyug Films Pvt Ltd (both DB Group companies). However, the agency said that it needs to collect further evidence to prove the chain of this transaction and other suspected links to Green House Promoters (linked to late Mr Sadiq Batcha, an aide of Mr Raja).

A supplementary charge-sheet will be filed shortly (around April 25), the CBI added.

CHEATING EXCHEQUER

The agency said that its investigation has disclosed that Mr Raja, despite repeated suggestions from various Government agencies including the Finance Ministry and TRAI, deliberately and dishonestly did not consider auction or revision of entry fee and gave away licences in 2008 at the same fee which was discovered through auction in 2001. This was done in criminal conspiracy with Mr Chandra, Mr Balwa and Mr Goenka.

Mr Raja falsely took shelter under the extant policies to award licences at 2001 prices, the CBI said. It, however, added that no material could be collected so far on whether other new players also conspired with Mr Raja and other accused public servants not to enhance entry fee.

Published on April 02, 2011

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