2G spectrum: CBI seeks details of telcos' banking transactions

2G spectrum: CBI seeks details of telcos' banking transactions

In a letter written to the Department of Telecom (DoT), the CBI said the list of 122 allottees of Unified Access Services (UAS) licenses in the year 2008, duly attested by a DoT official, should be sent to the agency, as the CBI has to furnish a status report before the Supreme Court in the second week of February.

The CBI stated in the letter that papers pertaining to Idea Cellular, Spice Telecom and Shyam Telelink, who were allotted 2G licenses by the DoT in 2007-08, have not been furnished to the CBI.

The CBI asked the DoT to furnish on "top priority" the details of instruments through which entry-level fees in respect of these companies were received by the department, official sources said.

The CBI claimed that some of the allottees had availed credit facilities from various banks by offering licences allotted by the DoT as a guarantee.In addition, S Tel and Loop Telecommunication were also mentioned by the CBI as among the companies whose tripartite agreement was not submitted to the CBI by the DoT. The DoT was asked to furnish the documentation in this regard at the earliest, the sources said.

Widening its probe into the 2G spectrum scam, the CBI has initiated a preliminary enquiry (PE) to probe the role of certain public sector banks, including State Bank of India, for providing loans to certain companies that were allocated 2G spectrum in 2007-08.

The PE was registered by the Bank Securities and Fraud Cell of the CBI against unknown bank officials. The allegation is that some banks had violated the laid down norms and provided finance to old as well as new companies that had made forays into the telecom market by procuring the spectrum auctioned during the said period, the sources said.

This is the second PE registered by the CBI in connection with the 2G spectrum scam. Earlier, a regular case was filed against unknown officials of the Department of Telecom and private companies.

According to the PE, the banks provided loans to companies by completely ignoring risk factors, even though the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) had already registered a case in the 2G scam and the CBI had begun its probe.

In December last year, the Supreme Court had come down heavily on public sector banks for their role in the 2G spectrum scam. A two-judge bench of Justices G S Singhvi and A K Ganguly had said that massive amounts were lent by some public sector banks to the 2G licencees, which needed to be investigated.

The bench had pointed out that about Rs 600-700 crore was lent out as if it was a small amount of Rs 60 or Rs 70.

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