Former corporate lobbyist Niira Radia on Tuesday told the CBI court hearing the 2G spectrum allocation scam that Tata Teleservices Ltd which was ahead in the queue for allocation of the spectrum lost the race while an "ineligible" Swan Telecom owned by ADAG Reliance Communications was granted the radiowaves.
53-year-old Radia, who appeared for the first time in the court in the case as a CBI witness, said she was advising the Tatas on telecom issues and the Tata Teleservices Ltd (TTSL) had opposed the allocation of spectrum to Swan Telecom Pvt Ltd (STPL) and Reliance Communications Ltd.
She said TTSL had applied for dual technology licences in 2007 which was granted in 2008 but it did not get the spectrum.
The CBI, in its charge sheet, had alleged that Reliance Telecom Ltd (RTL), an accused in the case, used Swan Telecom, an ineligible firm, as its front company to get licences and the costly radio waves.
"During the time of grant of licence and spectrum, there was a very strong public perception, created by the media, of eligibility and non-eligibility. Through the public perception and advice of Tata's advocates, I came to know that this company was not eligible," Radia told Special CBI Judge O P Saini.
Radia, who was warned against being evasive to the questions, also said, "at that time, there were dossiers in circulation stating that the company (STPL) belonged to Reliance Communications, though I do not have any authentic or personal knowledge".
Swan and its promoters, Shahid Usman Balwa and Vinod Goenka, who were arrested and are at present on bail, are facing trial in the case.
"TTSL had opposed allocation of spectrum to STPL and Reliance Communications. However, they were advised that they were in the queue and as and when the spectrum would be available they would get it. This was the only reply we got from the DoT," she, whose recording of statement remained inconclusive, said.
Radia was answering a question how STPL and Reliance Communications got the spectrum first, when TTSL was ahead of everyone in the queue.