BeyondHeadlines Staff Reporter
New Delhi: The Delhi High Court has rejected the bail application of Sanjay Chandra, MD, Unitech Ltd and Unitech Wireless, Vinod Goenka, MD, DB Realty and Swan Telecom (now Etisalat), Gautam Doshi, Group MD, Reliance Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group (ADAG) and Hari Nair and Surendra Pipara, Senior Vice Presidents, ADAG.
These five men, named in the first Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) chargesheet in the 2G scam case, were arrested on April 20 – and held in custody in Tihar jail.
Former telecom minister A Raja, former telecom secretary Siddhartha Behura, Raja’s personal secretary R K Chandolia and Swan Telecom promoter Shahid Usman Balwa were arrested earlier during investigation in the case and are lodged in Tihar Jail under judicial custody. The CBI has indicted Raja for conspiring with top bureaucrats, including a retired IAS officer, and corporate honchos to cause a loss of Rs. 30,984 crore to the exchequer in allocation of the 2G spectrum.
Sanjay Chandra the MD of Unitech Wireless and Vinod Goenka of Swan Telecom are accused of conspiring with former Telecom Minister A Raja to get licenses and spectrum for mobile networks at throwaway prices.
Chandra has been chargesheeted for cheating and conspiracy. The CBI believes that he came up with a plan which centred on Raja abruptly advancing the deadlines for applications for licenses by a week. Companies like Unitech allegedly benefited from this and jumped to the head of the queue.
The Telenor Group, which holds a 67.25 per cent ownership share in Unitech Wireless, has asked Sanjay Chandra to step down as the company’s chairman. (Read: Telenor asks Chandra to step down as Unitech Wireless chairman)
A press release said the Telenor Group had sent a letter to Unitech Ltd. earlier this month “requesting Sanjay Chandra to step down as Chairman of the Board of Directors in Unitech Wireless. Telenor Group has asked Unitech Ltd. to appoint a substitute for Sanjay Chandra for as long as the 2G court case is ongoing in India.”
The three senior executives from Anil Ambani’s ADAG have been accused of setting up Swan as a front to acquire more spectrum and licenses for Mr Ambani’s Reliance Telecommunications. Gautam Doshi, who is the Managing Director of ADAG, and the two other executives have been charged by the CBI with trying to conceal Reliance’s stake in Swan.
The CBI has alleged that funding for Swan was organised overnight so that it could serve as a secret extension of Reliance. According to the rules, no operator could own more than 10 per cent in another company providing telecom services in the same area. Mr Doshi, Surrendra Pipara and Hari Nair used Swan to get around that rule, the CBI has alleged.