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HindustanTimes Fri,29 Aug 2014

Balwa-Raja faceoff is CBI's probe plan

HT Correspondents, Hindustan Times  New Delhi/Mumbai, February 10, 2011
First Published: 00:08 IST(10/2/2011) | Last Updated: 00:23 IST(10/2/2011)

The CBI, now that it has Swan Telecom promoter Shahid Usman Balwa in custody, plans to bring him face to face with former telecom minister A Raja to unravel the 2G spectrum scam tangle.

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The agency suspects that a nexus with Raja helped Balwa's Swan Telecom get the Unified Access Services (UAS) licence, under which a company can operate both basic and mobile telephony, for 13 circles for Rs. 1,537 crore.

Later, Swan sold 45% of shares to the UAE-based Etisalat for Rs. 4,200 crore before even rolling out services. 

Balwa, also a promoter of DB Realty and a director of Etisalat DB Telecom India, was arrested late Tuesday in Mumbai.

He was brought to the CBI's headquarters in Delhi on Wednesday for questioning. He was produced before a CBI court for a two-day transit remand.

The Supreme Court will hear the case on Thursday.

While seeking his remand, CBI counsel K Sudhakar said Balwa had entered into a criminal conspiracy with the officials of the department of telecommunications along with other private companies to cause the exchequer a loss of about Rs. 22,000 crore.

In October 2009, the CBI raided several premises in Goregaon and Malad in Mumbai that belonged to the Etisalat and Swan and recovered files containing the share-holding patterns of different and their directors.

But few of the entries were updated.

Now, the investigators will question Balwa on these companies and the missing entries.

There is a suspicion as to who really owned Swan Telecom when it was allocated the UAS licence and 2G spectrum.

While Etisalat denied any role in the scam, DB reality also said he had been wrongly implicated in the case.


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