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2G: CBI quizzes top officials of telecom companies

New Delhi: CBI Tuesday questioned the top officials of some telecom companies, including managing director of Unitech Sanjay Chandra, in connection with its probe into 2G scam and some of them were confronted with arrested former telecom minister A Raja.

The CBI headquarters here virtually turned into a corporate office with top brass of four companies — Loop, S-Tel, Tata Realty and Unitech — arriving for questioning by the agency which registered a case against unnamed officials of Department of Telecom and private companies for causing a loss of Rs 22,000 crore in allocation of Spectrum in 2007-08.

The day began with the questioning of chief executive officer of Loop Telecom Sandeep Basu who was asked questions about some documents sized by CBI during searches. Loop had got licenses for 21 circles when the spectrum was issued during the first stint of Raja as Telecom Minister between September 2007-January 2008.

This was followed by the questioning of chief financial officer Arun Mandhana and chief regulatory officer Rajeev Sikka of S-Tel, a company which was issued licenses in five circles during the same period.

Tata Realty managing director Sanjay Ubale and Kishore Salatore were also quizzed by CBI about the funding pattern in Tata Tele services.

A Tata Realty spokesperson said “Tata Realty and Infrastructure Limited has not received any summons issued by CBI. They had sought some clarifications, which have been provided.”

The questioning of the Unitech managing director continued for several hours during which he was asked to explain about off-loading of shares, CBI sources said.

Unitech is the only company after Swan Telecom which has been named by CBI in the FIR filed on October 21, 2009.

Even as Chandra was being questioned, Unitech issued a statement in his name saying “Unitech has co-operated with all investigating agencies from the very beginning, as we have nothing to hide.

“Our officers have provided all records for examination and clarified all issues raised by them from time to time.

Going forward, we will continue to assist in the same spirit.”

The charges against Unitech, according to the CBI’s FIR, was that it offlaoded 60 percent of its shares to Telenor, a Norway-based telecom company, and earned a profit of 267 percent even before the service roll-out.

“M/s Unitech was alloted UAS licences for 22 cricles for Rs 1658 crore. It offloaded its 60 percent of shares in the licences to Telenor of Norway for Rs 6100 crore even before the roll-out,” the FIR said.

According to the FIR, “estimated loss to the government by grant of licences to these two companies (Swan and Unitech) alone comes to Rs 7,105 crore. On pro-rata basis, the estimated loss for all the 122 circles is more than Rs 22,000 crore.”

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