Probe into Essar, Swan to be over by 31st August: CBI

Investigating agency informs SC that Ministry of Corporate Affairs said oil major had less than 3% stake in Loop, when documents show it had more than 10%

New Delhi: The crossholding of shares of Essar in Loop Telecom was again in focus before the Supreme Court on Wednesday with the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) describing as "unfortunate" the letter issued by the Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA) claiming that the oil major had a less than 10% stake in the telecom venture.

Assuring that the probe would be wound up by 31st August, the CBI informed the Court about the documents it had procured from Mauritius that gave shareholding details of the companies which were allegedly used in the transfer of funds, reports PTI.

The CBI claimed that it had documents to show that Essar had more than 10% shares in Loop Telecom, while a recent letter from the MCA stated that it had less than 3% shares. This is "unfortunate", especially when the Court is monitoring the case, agency sources said.

The CBI also said that a fresh round of questioning of the company's officials would be carried out. Sources alleged that the corporate house was engaged in diversionary tactics by flooding various wings of the government with legal opinions. Essar had recently submitted the legal opinions of former solicitor general Harish Salve and former chief justice VN Khare.

The CBI will also send a formal request to Switzerland to help to track the alleged money trail of Swan Telecom, which has been named in the 2G spectrum case, after documents received from Mauritius indicated transfer of money to some European countries that are considered tax havens.

The agency said letters rogatory would be soon sent to Swiss authorities, to secure details about Maavi, the company which owns Delphi. The CBI said it had conclusive evidence suggesting that Delphi is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Maavi, but it had drawn a blank on the ownership of the company.

Delphi is under the scanner for fund transfers in Swan Telecom, in which Anil Ambani's Reliance Communications is alleged to have a more than 10% stake.

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