Contradicting Essar Group’s claim that it did not control Loop Telecom, which got pan-India licences for 2G-spectrum services, a board member of the latter (Loop Telecom) has made a statement to the contrary before a Delhi court.
In a statement recorded before an additional chief metropolitan magistrate under section 164 of the criminal Procedure Code, Somasundaram Subramaniam, said that Essar Group controlled Loop Telecom when the latter applied for Unified Access Services Licenses (UASL) for 2G-spectrum. A statement made under Section 164 of CrPC is admissible as evidence in a court.
“In BPL Mobile Corporation Limited (BMCL, which was later renamed as Loop Telecom) and Loop Telecom Private Limited (LTPL), we used to have Essar employees as bank signatories. It seems to me prima facie that BMCL and LTPL (being the subsidiary of BMCL) were controlled by Essar Group,” Subramaniam said in his statement recorded on Sept 8.
Subramaniam said his reporting supervisor Vikas Saraf in Loop Telecom was also CEO of Essar Telecom Business Group. “To my best of my knowledge, Vikas Saraf reported to the promoter Directors of Essar namely Shashi Ruia, Ravi Ruia, Prashant Ruia, Anshuman Ruia, Rewant Ruia and Smiti Ruia “ he added.
Subramaniam said he was informed that all work on financing for LTPL would be carried out by a team from Essar Group.
“Consequently, the financing for the licence fee requirements for LTPL were arranged along with bank guarantees by the corporate finance team of Essar led by VG Raghavan, who was the Essar Group CFO at that time.”
Loop Telecom refused to comment, saying, “we are not aware of the development”, while an Essar spokesperson said: “Essar would like to reiterate that it is and has always been in full compliance with UAS licence norms and is fully co-operating with the government authorities."
In its two chargesheets, the CBI has so far not named Essar or Loop Telecom but the agency is probing them.
JPC questions ex-telecom secy
The debate over the value of the state exchequer’s loss in the 2G spectrum allocation revived as the Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) sat to quiz the former telecom secretary on Wednesday.
Congress members, led by Manish Tewari questioned the underlying basis of the CAG’s calculation of Rs1.76 lakh crore loss pointing out that the interim report, prepared by a CAG director-level officer, could not quantify the loss.
BJP’s Yashwant Sinha asked former telecom secretary Vinod Vaish if he was allowed to explain his position before the justice Shivraj Patil committee. As Vaish answered in the negative, BJP members tried to rake up the issue. JPC chairman PC Chacko, however, said the meeting is not about discussing the Patil committee. HTC