2G scam: Anil Ambani, Tina summoned as witnesses in Rs 990 cr Swan Telecom case

Written by Press Trust of India | New Delhi | Updated: Jul 19 2013, 23:29pm hrs
Anil AmbaniCBI had contended that Anil Ambani, who is the Chairman of Reliance ADA Group, will be able to "throw light" on the issues of alleged investment by his group companies. (In picture: Tina and Anil Ambani with Amitabh Bachchan) Reuters
Reliance ADA Group Chairman Anil Ambani, his wife Tina and 11 others were today summoned as prosecution witnesses in the 2G spectrum allocation case related to Reliance Communications unit by a Delhi court.

"I find that examination of these witnesses is necessary for just decision of the case...," Special CBI Judge O P Saini said adding "the application is allowed in total and all 13 are summoned."

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CBI, in its plea, had sought summoning of Anil Ambani as witness in the case to ascertain the alleged investment of over Rs 990 crore by Reliance ADA Group companies in Swan Telecom Pvt Ltd, facing trial in the case along with its promoters Shahid Usman Balwa and Vinod Goenka.

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The agency had contended that Anil Ambani, who is the Chairman of Reliance ADA Group, will be able to "throw light" on the issues of alleged investment by his group companies.

Ambani is required to be examined regarding the decisions on incorporation of the alleged shell companies, special public prosecutor U U Lalit had said, adding that although he may not have been a part of the decisions taken on these issues, he would have been aware about these matters.

CBI had said that Ambani and his wife had "unrestricted powers" so far as cheque issuing authority is concerned and Tina Ambani had presided over the relevant meetings.

The advocates appearing for the three top executives of Reliance ADAG who are facing trial in the case had opposed CBI's plea saying that the delay on the agency's part in moving this application shows that it is not genuine.

The defence counsel had argued that reasons for the delay could be explained but CBI has not given any explanation regarding this.

RADAG's Group company Reliance Telecom Ltd (RTL) is an accused in the case. Three top Reliance ADAG executives-- Gautam Doshi, Surendra Pipara and Hari Nair-- are facing trial in the case.

The defence counsel had said that the agency was trying to establish a new case at this stage of the trial.

The court had reserved its order on July 17 on CBI's plea after hearing arguments from both the sides.

The CBI had earlier sought to make 17 persons, including Anil Ambani and Tina, as witnesses in the case but during the arguments, it had told the court that the agency was dropping four names.

The agency had alleged RTL used Swan Telecom, an ineligible firm, as its front company to get 2G licenses and the costly radio waves.

"He (Anil Ambani), being the head of Reliance ADA Group, his testimony is required to depose as to who was responsible for incorporation of shell companies including Swan Telecom Pvt Ltd, Tiger Traders Pvt Ltd, Zebra Consultants Pvt Ltd.... their inter-locking equity structures, corporate structuring of Swan Telecom Pvt Ltd, investments/divestments into/out of Swan Telecom Pvt Ltd By Reliance Telecom Ltd, Reliance Communications Ltd, Vikata Engineering Services Pvt Ltd and other Reliance ADA Group companies....," CBI had said.

CBI, in its plea, had said Anil Ambani's testimony is required to know about the "decision to apply for UAS licences on behalf of Swan Telecom, pursuing the process of applications with DoT, transfer of Swan Telecom Pvt Ltd to the DB Group in October 2007."

Regarding Tina, CBI had said she was occupying an "important position" in Reliance ADA Group and was "authorised to transact on behalf of Tiger Traders Pvt Ltd and Swan Telecom Pvt Ltd without any limit on value."

India's Anil Ambani to appear as witness in telecoms case

(Reuters) Indian billionaire Anil Ambani will have to appear in court as a witness in a case over alleged corruption in the grant of telecommunications permits five years ago, an Indian court ruled on Friday after a police plea.

The court allowed a police plea to add 13 new witnesses in the case including Ambani.

There are no charges against Ambani but a unit of his Reliance Communications and three of his group executives are among those charged in the case over alleged rigging in the permit award process in 2008.

All accused in the case have denied any wrongdoing as the trial continues.