CBI on Swan Telecom hunt seeks details of Delphi

Written by Anandita Singh Mankotia | Rishi Raj | New Delhi | Updated: Feb 23 2011, 19:35pm hrs
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Who owns Delphi Investment of Mauritius The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) wants to know. In December 2007, Reliance Communications had sold 9.9% stake in Swan Telecom to Delphi. The answer will help the CBI determine whether Delphi was a front company in the 2G spectrum scam and if the stake transfer was a pay-off.

The investigating agency has sent a letter rogatory (request for investigation) to the Mauritius government to find out the people behind the company. It has also sought details on its date of incorporation, the business it conducts etc.

Little is known about Delphi Investment apart from the fact that it was a wholly-owned subsidiary of one Mavi Investment Fund Ltd, Mauritius, which is learnt to be incorporated as a private category 1, global business company in Mauritius and whose management company is International (Mauritius) Ltd.

According to CBIs letter rogatory, a copy of which is with FE, on December 5, 2007 less than two months after getting the dual technology licence, RCom sold the entire equity of 1.07 crore shares (9.9%) held by its subsidiary Reliance Telecom in Swan to Delphi Investment Ltd, Les Cascades Building, Edith Cavell Street, Port Louis, Mauritius.

Earlier, on October 17, 2007 just a day before RCom received the in-principle approval for dual technology licence its subsidiary Reliance Telecom transferred all the 99 lakh preference shares held by it in Swan Telecom to Dynamix Balwas Infrastructure Pvt Ltd. These were further transferred by DB Infrastructure to Tiger Traders on October 5, 2008 nine months after Swan got the licences for 13 circles. Subsequently on December 17, 2008, 11.29 crore shares of Swan were offloaded to UAE-based Etisalat. The company is now known as Etisalat DB Telecom, with Etisalat holding 45% equity in the company.

As is known, DB Group's promoter Shahid Balwa is already under arrest and is being questioned. The CBI investigation throws light on the genesis of Swan by RCom and the series of subsequent share transfers that took place with the final exit to Delphi. What comes to light is that RCom had propped up this company to get the GSM spectrum and when it got the same through the dual technology licence, it sold off its stake in Swan. This is how the CBI has pieced together the genesis of Swan. The company was incorporated on July 13, 2006 with a subscribed share capital of Rs 1 lakh. Reliance Energy Centre Management Services Pvt Ltd held a 50% stake in the company, while 49.99% was held by Powersurfurs Interactive (India) Pvt Ltd and the remaining 0.01% was held by one Himanshu Aggarwal. On January 22, 2007, Reliance Telecom infused Rs 29.7 lakh into Swan Telecom acquiring 2.9 lakh shares at Rs 10 each. Similarly, Tiger Traders Pvt Ltd also bought 2.7 lakh shares at Rs 10 each for Rs 27 lakh. On the same date, the initial shares worth Rs 1 lakh were also transferred to Tiger Traders. On the same date, Reliance Telecom was issued 2.8 lakh preference shares for Rs 28 crore. The shares were priced at Re 1 each, at a premium of Rs 999. On March 2, 2007, further fresh capital was infused in the company with Tiger Traders investing Rs 95 crore for 9.5 crore shares priced at Rs 10 each and Reliance Telecom bought 1.04 crore shares at the same price of Rs 10 totaling Rs 10.4 crore. Reliance Telecom also purchased 96 lakh equity shares at Re 1 at a premium of Rs 999 per share, hence paying Rs 964 crore. It was in March 2007 that Swan applied for licences in 13 circles. While RCom maintains that its stake in Swan was 9.9% at that time, the CAG has calculated the worth of preference shares the company held in the company and computed its stake at 10.71%, which is a violation of the 10% cross-holding norm. On its part, ADAG maintains that it has not committed any wrong and is fully in compliance with the norms.

Neither Reliance Telecom, nor RCom, nor any Reliance ADA group individual, company or affiliate held even a single share in Swan Telecom Ltd, at the time of grant of the 2G licence to them in January 2008, or at any time thereafter, the group said. It also said that the group did not obtain any monetary gain or other benefit, directly or indirectly, from the grant of 2G licence to Swan in January 2008.