Enforcement Directorate charges top telcos for forex norms violations
The ED on Saturday took the first of the three-step action planned in the 2G spectrum scam by filing five complaints against major telecom companies and their directors for a Rs 4,300-crore violation of the Fema. Rajesh Ahuja reports. Under scanner | What caused the 2G scam?delhi Updated: Apr 10, 2011 00:58 IST
The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Saturday took the first of the three-step action planned in the 2G spectrum scam by filing five complaints against major telecom companies and their directors for a Rs 4,300-crore violation of the Foreign Exchange Management Act (Fema).
The complaints, equivalent to chargesheets, will be followed by attachment of properties acquired through illegal means. Finally, the ED will file chargesheets against the companies for violation of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act.Both the CBI and ED are probing former telecom minister A Raja's awarding of the unified access services licence (UAS) and 2G spectrum to a few favoured companies leading to a massive loss to the exchequer.
According to sources, ED investigators are planning to file 10 more Fema complaints very soon in the 2G spectrum case.
The ED also suspects Fema violation by Virgin Mobile, a joint venture between the Tatas and Virgin Group. The investigators are looking into the Unitech-Telenor deal as well.
According to sources, Norwegian telecom major Telenor invested Rs 6,100 crore in Unitech ventures after they got the UAS licences.
But the route adopted for the investment is being probed.
What's more, the cash guarantee issue of Systema and the merger of companies after the issuance of 2G licences is also under scanner.
The sources said Swan Telecom, charged with a Rs 3,608-crore Fema violation, issued 44.73% shares to Etisalat, Dubai and 5.27% shares to Genex Exim.
But it violated government provisions by appointing an Etisalat-nominated director. Also, the steering committee formed to run Swan also had members from Etisalat.
In case of Genex Exim, Swan claimed that the equity of Rs 380 crore held by Genex was under the resident category, but probe revealed that it was indirect foreign investment, as funds were from Dubai.
Apart from Swan and its associates, Loop Mobile and Loop Telecom, S Tel and Wellcom, Communications India and Wellcom Communications have also been charged.