Tata, Idea among 10 companies under 2G probe: ED tells JPC

Tata, Idea among 10 companies under 2G probe: ED tells JPC

Tata, Idea among 10 companies under 2G probe: ED tells JPC

ED Director Arun Mathur, in a presentation to the Joint Parliamentary Committee examining the spectrum allocation, said that the probe agency has been investigating 10 telecom companies for allegations of violation of the Foreign Exchange Management Act and the Prevention of Money Laundering Act.

Unitech Wireless (Tamil Nadu), Swan Telecom, Loop Telecom, S-Tel Limited, Videocon Telecom, Idea Cellular, Tata Teleservices, Sistema-Shyam Telecom, Allianz Infratech which subsequently became EtisalatDB and Spice Communications which has since been merged with Idea Cellular are the companies being investigated by the ED, JPC Chairman P C Chacko told reporters here.

He said the ED, in the course of investigations, found FEMA violations by way of foreign direct investment through purchase of equity shares, covertible preferential shares and convertible debentures by non-resident persons.

Chacko said that the the ED had sent teams of officials to tax havens like Isle of Mann, British Virgin Islands in connection with the investigations.

Meanwhile, the JPC has decided to call all former Telecom Secretaries since 1998, including Siddharth Behura who has been jailed in connection with the 2G scam, as witnesses for recording of evidence when the Committee meets next on July 7-8.
Among those asked to appear as witness P J Thomas, D S Mathur, J S Sarma, Nripendra Misra, Vinod Vaish, Shyamal Ghosh, Anil Kumar and A V Gokak.The ED has slapped various charges of FEMA violations to the tune of over Rs 4,300 crore against top telecom firms involved in the 2G spectrum scam including Swan, Loop and S-Tel.

Chacko said authorised representatives of the companies in question would be asked to appear as witnesses before the Committee.

Earlier in the day, Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) Chairman J S Sarma told the JPC that it had submitted 11 reports to the the Department of Telecom on the 2G spectrum allocations.

Of the recommendations, one pertains to placing no cap on service providers in any service area and allocation of additional spectrum on fulfilment of its rollout obligations.
Sarma told the Committee that all spectrum excluding in 800 Mhz, 900 Mhz and 1800 Mhz band should be auctioned.

Sarma also told the JPC that it was a recommendatory body and it was up to the Department of Telecom to implement its recommendations.Following this, the TRAI chairman was asked to submit the list of recommendations on the 2G to the JPC.
Chacko said the next meeting of the JPC would be held on July 7-8 and thereafter meet on all Tuesdays and Wednesdays till it completes the report.