'Raja favored Swan in getting 2G licenses'

CIOL Bureau
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NEW DELHI, INDIA: The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Friday informed a special court here that former communication minister A. Raja had approved the grant of dual technology 2G spectrum licenses to "favoured" telecom firms like Swam Telecom, depriving Tata Teleservices and Spice Communication.


Opening his arguments on the second day for framing of charges before CBI Special Judge O.P. Saini, Special Public Prosecutor U.U. Lalit said: "Raja favored Reliance Communication. How is it possible that Relaince Communication applied for licenses a day before applications were invited?"

"We are not going into the facts that how much benefit Reliance got," said Lalit, adding that Tata already had CDMA technology like Reliance had.

"What was the reason that Tata was dropped from the priority list, whereas Reliance gets the benefits," Lalit further asked.


"Tata was deprived by saying that you applied late," he added.

According to Lalit, on Sept 19, 2007, Tata Teleservices applied for dual technology spectrum but its application was not treated in a similar fashion. It was kept pending and deliberately so with a design.

"Raja, in conspiracy with his personal secretary R.K. Chandolia and former Telecom Secretary Siddhartha Behura, ensured receipt of Unitech Wireless application and once it was received they stopped accepting more of them from other firms," he said.


Lalit said Raja, along with Chandolia and Behura, had designed deviations in the first-come-first-served (FCFS) policy to favour Sanjay Chandra's Unitech Wireless and Swan Telecom.

He said by these "ill-designs" of Raja and others in the Telecom Ministry, Swan Telecom jumped to a higher position in the priority list above Spice Communication, which had applied for the spectrum in August 2006 whereas Swan Telecom had applied only in March 2007.

"Spice Communication, following the existing FCFS principle, would have been the first priority, Tata second and Swan would have been at priority number five but Swan came at priority number one in the final list. This is how it gets manipulated," Lalit said.


"FCFS principle meant that whosoever applies first will get priority in allocation of spectrum. The policy was disregarded by introducing new clauses which were the fulcrum of all misdeeds," he said.

Lalit argued Reliance had floated Swan Telecom as it was not sure if its application for dual technology use of spectrum would be allowed.

But by floating a front company, Reliance had violated the law which stipulated that no group can have substantial equity holdings in in two companies within the same circle, he contended.


"It (Reliance) was unclear whether they will be allowed GSM spectrum through dual technology. So, they put up the particular company... Swan was nothing but an alter ego of Reliance. Various companies were formed as associates and they fraudulently showed transfer of shares," said Lalit.

The CBI further stated that Reliance had floated many more companies, which became known from the bank statements of those companies.

"Swan received Rs 974.49 crore from Reliance Communication," said Lalit.


After two-and-a-half hours of arguments the CBI submitted before the court that it will continue arguments on Saturday.

Meanwhile, Lalit said: "Drafts of charges will submitted before the special court Monday.