Essar group involved in 2g scam: CBI tells SC

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Old 07-Jul-2011
Essar group involved in 2g scam: CBI tells SC

New Delhi July 7:

CBI indicated involvement of Essar group in the 2G spectrum scam when it said in the Supreme Court that Loop, which got licence during the tenure of A Raja, was its front company.

The agency also questioned the role of Ministry of Corporate Affairs in giving clean chit to Essar group. Without naming the corporate house, the agency said that it had promoted the telecom company in order to get licence and 2G spectrum during the tenure of former Telecom Minister Raja. Giving details of financial transactions which was routed through Mauritius, Senior Advocate K K Venugopal, appearing for the CBI, submitted that the money trail clearly established the involvement of the corporate house.

"Attempts were made to project that they are not connected but slowly we are finding that they are closely involved," he said, adding "Corporate guarantee was granted by the group company". "The lady mentioned in the list is the sister of Director of the group company and is holding the telecom company along with her husband and brother. They are partners and the telecom company is owned by the three," he said without taking their names.

The investigating agency also questioned the propriety of ministry of corporate affairs as well as others to comment on the status of relationship between Loop Telecom and Essar. "This is unwarranted when the Supreme Court is monitoring the investigations," it said. The ministry had communicated to the Telecom Ministry that the Ruias-led group held only 2.15 percent stake in Loop Telecom at the time of obtaining 2G licence.

Venugopal said the legal opinion rendered by former judges to the company was forwarded to the CBI. According to this, Essar Group and Loop Telecom has no link. He, however, clarified that the agency was in no way going to be influenced in its probe. The bench, after going through the status report filed in the sealed cover, said that the investigating agencies probing the case should not be influenced by the comments made by others and they must bring the investigation to a logical conclusion.

"Attempts will certainly be made to sidetrack the investigation," the court said, adding "Investigation has to be taken to a logical conclusion at the earliest otherwise cover ups would cover everything." "One ministry has taken a somersault," Venugopal said in an apparent reference to the role of Ministry of Corporate Affairs after it gave a clean chit to the group company.

Venugopal said the investigation into the scam and money trail involved in it had taken the CBI to seven foreign destinations and even the ED has secured letters rogatory seeking cooperation from Isle of Man in its probe. Venugopal, who read out the status report, said investigation into the money trail has led the CBI to Switzerland where Swan telecom, which allegedly acted as front company for Reliance telecom, parked the money connected with the 2G scam.It was reported that the money was related to the investment in Delphi which was helping Swan telecom.

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