CBI seeks legal opinion on Essars cross-holding in Loop Tele

Written by Press Trust of India | New Delhi | Updated: Aug 29 2011, 09:24am hrs
The CBI has submitted its findings on cross-holding of shares of Essar in Loop Telecom to its legal wing for opinion following differences in probe between it and the corporate affairs ministry which said the Ruias-led group held only 2.15% stake in Loop Telecom and not over 10% as alleged when 2G licence was granted.

Sources privy to the investigations said the entire probe had been submitted to the directorate of prosecution comprising eminent lawyers to give opinion as the CBI investigation has claimed so far that the cross-holding of shares of Essar in the Loop telecom was higher than the prescribed 10%, a charge denied by both the companies.

The sources said if the legal department of the CBI concurred with the findings of the investigators, the agency would proceed for filing of chargesheet and if there was a difference of opinion, the matter would be sent to the law ministry for taking a final view.

The Registrar of Companies (Mumbai) has said, The Essar Group, directly or indirectly, held only 2.15% of Loop Telecom as on September 3, 2007, that is the date on which the application was made to DoT for UAS licence.

The RoC letter also said that documents of the company do not substantiate associate relationship between Essar Group and Khaitan Group as alleged.

The CBI has been contesting the claims of Essar and Reliance saying that both the companies held more than 10% of shares in Loop and Swan when the spectrum was allocated to them, a charge rebutted by both the companies.

In a 2009 report, the corporate affairs ministry had said Essar had 9.9% stake while in its recent communication it said Essar's stake was just 2.15%.

According to licence norms, cross-holding of less than 10% is permissible. The agency had also questioned the two versions of the ministry in its status report filed in the Supreme Court.

The CBI is investigating whether Essar used Loop as a front company to corner spectrum in violation of the guidelines.