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Telecom licence violation: CBI to probe Tata Group

The Central Bureau of Investigations (CBI) has started probing whether the Tata group violated telecom licence conditions by holding more than 10% equity in more than one company in a service area. Manoj Gairola reports. Conditional clause

business Updated: Jun 28, 2012 00:09 IST
Manoj Gairola

The Central Bureau of Investigations (CBI) has started probing whether the Tata group violated telecom licence conditions by holding more than 10% equity in more than one company in a service area. The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has already sent the relevant files to the agency.

Earlier, Kumar Mangalam Birla-led Aditya Birla Nuvo Ltd had written letters to various government departments and agencies alleging that the Tata group violated the licence condition in the 2005-06 period.

Ratan Tata-led Tata group, during the period, was a partner in Idea Cellular. The group is said to have been operating services through Tata Teleservices Ltd (TTSL) and Tata Teleservices Maharashtra Ltd (TTML) in some of the areas overlapping that of Idea Cellular. It is also alleged that the Tata Group owned more than 10% equity in both the groups. http://www.hindustantimes.com/Images/Popup/2012/6/28-06-biz1.jpg

Licence norms do not permit an entity to hold more than 10% in more than one company providing mobile services in an area.

The agency has asked the DoT for comments. “The vigilance wing of the DoT has forwarded a bunch of papers received by them from the CBI on the same subject and has requested for our comments on issues raised in the allegations,” an internal DoT note revealed. “In this connection it is stated that the CBI had earlier requested for our comments on the issues raised in the allegations,” the note said.

The DoT had earlier sought information regarding the shareholding pattern of the Tata group in Idea, TTSL and TTML from the ministry of corporate affairs.

“We are in no position to comment on whether or not any department of the government is enquiring into any matter. We have not received any enquiry from any department of the government,” said a spokesperson of Tata Industries Ld (TIL).

“We do not comment on such issues,” an Aditya Birla Group spokesperson said.