2G scam trial; RADAG official identifies signature of accused

Reliance Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group president AN Sethuraman identified the signatures of Hari Nair, senior vice president of the firm who, in the capacity of company secretary of Swan Telecom, had allegedly signed its documents such as memorandum and the articles of association

New Delhi: Reliance Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group (ADAG) president AN Sethuraman on Monday told a Delhi court that it ‘appeared’ that Hari Nair, senior vice president of the firm and an accused in second generation (2G) spectrum scam, had certified documents accompanying applications for 15 circles for UAS licences on behalf of Swan Telecom, reports PTI.

“The signature appears to be of Mr Hari Nair,” Mr Sethuraman, testifying as second prosecution witness, told special CBI judge OP Saini.

He identified the signatures of Mr Nair who, in the capacity of company secretary of Swan Telecom, had allegedly signed its documents such as memorandum and the articles of association.

Mr Sethuraman said all the applications for Unified Access Services (UAS) licences on behalf of Swan Telecom were signed and submitted by him (the witness) in March 2007.

“I had submitted applications for 15 circles for UAS licences on behalf of Swan Telecom in March 2007,” he said.

Mr Sethuraman said he was on the payroll of RADAG but submitted the applications for UAS licenses in the capacity as an authorised signatory of Swan Telecom.

The witness said he had informed the Department of Telecom (DoT) about the change of name from Swan Capital Pvt Ltd to Swan Telecom Pvt Ltd by a letter on 6 March 2007. The letter accompanied a certificate issued by Nair, he said.

“I have been shown one letter dated 6 March 2007, addressed to DoT, Sanchar Bhawan, New Delhi. The same bears my signature. Through this letter, I had intimated DoT regarding change of name of company, that is, from Swan Capital Pvt Ltd to Swan Telecom Pvt Ltd,” he said.

Reliance ADAG-led Reliance Telecom (RTL) has been put on trial in 2G spectrum allocation case on the ground that Swan Telecom Pvt Ltd (STPL) was ‘just a mask’ for it.

Mr Sethuraman said besides Assam and North-East, Swan Telecom had applied for UAS licences in Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Haryana, Karnataka, Kerela, Maharashtra, Punjab, Rajsathan, Tamil Nadu, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh (east and west telecom circle) and Mumbai telecom circles.

Earlier, Mr Sethuraman, in his statement to CBI on 24 March 2011, had also identified the signatures of Mr Nair on the memorandum of association and article of association of STPL.

He had said Mr Nair had certified that equity share holder of STPL does not have substantial equity in more than one licencee company.

He had also told the agency that he was not aware why STPL withdrew its applications for licences in Assam and North-East telecom circle.

Mr Sethuraman’s cross-examination would continue on Tuesday.

General manager of Reliance Infrastructure, a group firm of Reliance ADA group, Ashish Karyekar, who was to depose before the court, was present but could not be examined due to paucity of time.

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CBI probing alleged SingTel violation of Indian telecom laws

SingTel was billing the local customers in India without having the telecom license in the country flouting the telecom norms and conditions, as alleged by the telecom department

New Delhi: The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is investigating into a complaint by Department of Telecom (DoT) for alleged violation of Indian laws by SingTel which offered international long distance (ILD) services without a licence, reports PTI.

“With regard to action against the non-licensed entity Singapore Telecommunications (SingTel) for violation of the Telegraph Act, 1885, DoT had registered a complaint in this regard with Economic Offence Wing of CBI on 29 November 2010 and the matter is presently under investigation by CBI,” telecom minister Kapil Sibal said on 9th November, in reply to a letter from a member of Parliament.

SingTel was billing the local customers in India without having the telecom license in the country flouting the telecom norms and conditions, as alleged by the telecom department.

The issue was brought before the government by a Lok Sabha MP.

The government has already fined Rs50 crore each Bharti Airtel and Tata Communications which had an arrangement with SingTel.

The DoT complained that the SingTel was offering ILD services and it was “acquiring customers in India...” without having license thus violating the Indian Telegraph Act, 1885.

The period covered services provided between 2005 and 2009, sources said.

The penalty on Bharti Airtel and Tata Telecom was based on recommendations of an internal DoT committee.

As per the licensing norms, Indian ILD operators are authorised to provide Indian circuits to a foreign carrier (like SingTel in this case) so that they are able to provide end-to-end services to their customers in their territories.

The committee found, from submissions made by Bharti that the company had raised the invoice to SingTel at its Singapore address for the portion of circuit provided by Bharti Airtel.

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India deserves better credit rating, finance ministry tells Moody’s

“Moody’s should take a fresh look at the long-term credit strengths of the Indian economy and consider a long due credit rating upgrade for India’s sovereign rating,” a finance ministry official said after a meeting with the rating agency’s representatives

New Delhi: India on Monday told global rating agency Moody’s that it deserves higher rating, at least two notches above the present grade, on the back of improvement in basic economic parameters witnessed in the last few years, reports PTI.

“Moody’s should take a fresh look at the long-term credit strengths of the Indian economy and consider a long due credit rating upgrade for India’s sovereign rating,” a finance ministry official said after a meeting with Moody’s representatives here on Monday.

The officials, led by Department of Economic Affairs secretary R Gopalan, impressed upon Moody’s to upgrade India’s rating to ‘Baa1’, two notches above its current rating. Moody’s had last upgraded India’s rating to ‘Baa3’ (with stable outlook) in 2004. Baa3 means medium grade with moderate credit risk.

Besides, Moody’s had assigned a ‘Ba1’ with a positive outlook rating to India’s local debt.

India’s long-term growth prospects arise from a high savings and investment ratio, favourable demographics, rapid progress in infrastructure development and a stable democratic polity, the official said.

“India has low external debt to gross domestic product (GDP) ratio, high foreign exchange reserves, deep domestic capital markets and diversified domestic holdings of sovereign debt. It outperforms its ‘Baa’ peers on these indicators,” he added.

Last week, the rating firm had lowered the outlook on the Indian banking sector to negative from stable saying that slow global economic growth could impact profitability.

The move did not go down well with the government and the bankers who termed the move as unwarranted and said the Indian banks are better off than their global peers.

The official said the government is actively working towards structural reforms in the economy.

In the meeting, the finance ministry officials told Moody’s that the policy measures by the government includes fuel price hike, clearing 51% foreign direct investment (FDI) in multi-brand retail by the Committee of Secretaries (CoS) and increasing of foreign institutional investment (FII) limit in infra bonds to $25 billion among others.

They added that the government is on the path of fiscal consolidation for the last seven years, but it was interrupted by the global financial crisis in 2008.

“Indian economy has shown significant improvement in FDI flows and total exports this year. Due to uncertainties in the global financial markets, they have been muted this year, but are expected to pick up soon,” the official added.

The meeting was also attended by Chief Economic Adviser Kaushik Basu and officers from different departments in the ministry of finance, power, fertiliser and petroleum and natural gas.

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