2G scam: ED to grill Radia
The Enforcement Directorate has summoned corporate lobbyist Niira Radia to appear before its officials today to explain her role in the allocation of 2G spectrum. Rajesh Ahuja reports. Graphics: Peddling influencedelhi Updated: Nov 24, 2010 01:37 IST
The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has summoned corporate lobbyist Niira Radia to appear before its officials on Wednesday to explain her role in the allocation of 2G spectrum.
The ED is looking at whether there was any violation of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act in the 2008 spectrum sale. Radia was summoned earlier too but didn’t appear citing 'health reasons'. She didn’t reply to calls and SMSes from HT.
An exhaustive questionnaire awaits Radia at the ED office. Sources said the ED wants to know what kind of relationship Radia and her firms — Vaishnavi Corporate Communications, Noesis Strategic Consulting Services, Vitcom Consulting and Neucom Consulting — had with the telecom firms allocated 2G spectrum. The key questions she’ll be asked include:
* What she charged for her services
* What the mode of payment between her firms and their clients was
* Whether she had any stake in the firms allocated spectrum
* Whether she played a role in bringing foreign funding for any of the telecom operators
Investigators are looking into illegalities if any in the foreign funding brought in by the telecom operators. Radia will be asked to explain all her banking transactions. Sources said her examination may take days.
They also said the focus is on the involvement of black money. If the CBI finds any illegality in the allocation, then the ED will come into the picture and it can seize the revenue generated by the telecom operators as 'crime proceeds' under the Act.
Any property acquired by these operators from their profits will also come under the scanner.
According to the sources, so far, the ED has recorded the statements of the representatives of four telecom companies — Unitech (now Uninor), Tata Teleservices Limited, Idea Cellular Ltd and Etisalat DB (earlier Swan Telecom). They intend to examine other operators also.
The CBI is carrying on its investigation. Apart from former telecom minister A Raja and other officials from the department of telecommunication, Radia and a few former bureaucrats who work for her firms are under the CBI scanner.
Former Telecom Regulatory Authority of India chief Pradip Baijal, now with Radia’s firm Noesis, was interviewed by the CBI, the sources said. Baijal too didn’t respond to HT’s calls and SMS.