Tatas lost race, Swan got 2G licence: Radia

Tatas lost race, Swan got 2G licence: Radia

Tatas lost race, Swan got 2G licence: Radia

Former corporate lobbyist Niira Radia on Tuesday told a CBI court that Tata Teleservices Ltd, which was ahead in the queue for allocation of the 2G spectrum, lost the race while an “ineligible” Swan Telecom, said to be owned by ADAG Reliance Communications, was granted the radiowaves.

Radia, who appeared for the first time in the court as a CBI witness, said she was advising the Tatas on telecom issues and the Tata Teleservices Ltd (TTSL) had opposed the allocation of spectrum to Swan Telecom Pvt Ltd (STPL) and Reliance Communications Ltd.

She said TTSL had applied for dual technology licences in 2007 which was granted in 2008 but it did not get the spectrum. The CBI, in its charge sheet, had alleged that Reliance Telecom Ltd (RTL), an accused in the case, used Swan Telecom, an ineligible firm, as its front company to get licences and the costly radio waves.

“During the time of grant of licence and spectrum, there was a very strong public perception, created by the media, of eligibility and non-eligibility. Through the public perception and advice of Tata’s advocates, I came to know that this company was not eligible,” Radia told Special CBI Judge O P Saini.

Radia also said, “At that time, there were dossiers in circulation stating that the company (STPL) belonged to Reliance Communications, though I do not have any authentic or personal knowledge”.

STPL and its promoters are facing trial in the case.

“TTSL had opposed allocation of spectrum to STPL and Reliance Communications. However, they were advised that they were in the queue and as and when the spectrum would be available they would get it. This was the only reply we got from the DoT,” she, whose recording of statement remained inconclusive, said.

Radia’s statement assumes significance as she, in her statement recorded during the probe under section 161 of the CrPC (dealing with examination of witnesses) before CBI, had said that STPL was “not eligible” to get the Unified Access Service (UAS) Licences.
The court, which dubbed her  a “sensitive” and “important” witness in the case, cautioned her against being evasive to a question as to why TTSL was granted CDMA licence so late in 2008, though it had applied for the same in 2005-06.

On being shown the voice identification-cum-transcription memo, Radia identified her signatures on it and said she had earlier identified her as well others’ voices to whom she had spoken to in those conversations.

The court deferred recording of Radia’s statement.