Enforcement Directorate has told the JPC that it was investigating 10 companies, including Tata Teleservices, Idea Cellular, in connection with the 2G spectrum allocation case.
ED Director Arun Mathur, in a presentation to the Joint Parliamentary Committee examining the spectrum allocation, on Wednesday said that the probe agency has been investigating 10 telecom companies for allegations of violation of the Foreign Exchange Management Act and the Prevention of Money Laundering Act.
Unitech Wireless (Tamil Nadu), Swan Telecom, Loop Telecom, S-Tel Limited, Videocon Telecom, Idea Cellular, Tata Teleservices, Sistema-Shyam Telecom, Allianz Infratech which subsequently became EtisalatDB and Spice Communications which has since been merged with Idea Cellular are the companies being investigated by the ED, JPC Chairman P C Chacko told reporters in New Delhi on Wednesday.
He said the ED, in the course of investigations, found FEMA violations by way of foreign direct investment through purchase of equity shares, covertible preferential shares and convertible debentures by non-resident persons.
Chacko said the ED had sent teams of officials to tax havens like Isle of Mann, British Virgin Islands in connection with the investigations.
Meanwhile, the JPC has decided to call all former Telecom Secretaries since 1998, including Siddharth Behura who has been jailed in connection with the 2G scam, as witnesses for recording of evidence when the Committee meets next on July 7-8.
Among those asked to appear as witness P J Thomas, D S Mathur, J S Sarma, Nripendra Misra, Vinod Vaish, Shyamal Ghosh, Anil Kumar and A V Gokak.
The ED has slapped various charges of FEMA violations to the tune of over Rs. 4,300 crore against top telecom firms involved in the 2G spectrum scam including Swan, Loop and S-Tel.
Chacko said authorised representatives of the companies in question would be asked to appear as witnesses before the Committee.
Earlier in the day, Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) Chairman J S Sarma told the JPC that it had submitted 11 reports to the Department of Telecom on the 2G spectrum allocations.
Of the recommendations, one pertains to placing no cap on service providers in any service area and allocation of additional spectrum on fulfilment of its rollout obligations.
Sarma told the Committee that all spectrum excluding in 800 Mhz, 900 Mhz and 1800 Mhz band should be auctioned.
Sarma also told the JPC that it was a recommendatory body and it was up to the Department of Telecom to implement its recommendations.
Following this, the TRAI chairman was asked to submit the list of recommendations on the 2G to the JPC.
Chacko said the next meeting of the JPC would be held on July 7-8 and thereafter meet on all Tuesdays and Wednesdays till it completes the report.
The Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) examining telecom policies in the wake of the 2G scam has decided to call all former Telecom Ministers since 1998, including A Raja to depose before it.
CBI Director A P Singh and two senior CBI officials briefed the JPC on the probe agency’s inputs related to its investigation into the scam, Committee Chairman P C Chacko told reporters in New Delhi on Tuesday.
Singh briefed the JPC on the investigation into the 2G scam and said a third charge sheet into the matter would be filed during the current month.
Chacko said the CBI was also probing the alleged delay of two years in granting telecom licences to Aircel between 2004 and 2006. Textiles Minister Dayanidhi Maran was heading the telecom ministry then.
Fourteen licences were issued to Aircel Maxis in 2004 but the licences were given in 2006. “The CBI is probing why there was a delay,” Chacko said.
Singh and his team briefed the JPC about the “progress and findings” into the alleged irregularities into the 2G spectrum allocation in January 2008.
Chacko said the JPC has also finalised a list of 85 witnesses who would be asked to be present for recording of evidence in connection with the telecom policies.
Secretaries of the Departments of Telecom, Law, Finance, Revenue Corporate Affairs will be asked to appear before the JPC, he said.
“All former Telecom Ministers since 1998 will also be called for recording of evidence,” Chacko said.
Asked whether Raja, who is in prison in connection with the 2G allocations, would be called, he said the Committee can issue summons to those in jail be produced before it.
“They will be produced before the Committee by the authorities,” was all Chacko said to persistent questions on whether Raja or Shahid Balwa of the DB Realty-Swan Telecom would be asked to appear as witnesses before the JPC.
Chacko said TRAI Chairman J S Sarma, Attorney General Goolam Vahanvati, CBI Director A P Singh will be among those who would be asked to appear as witnesses before the JPC.
All the former chairmen of TRAI, former Secretaries of the Department of Telecom, former Finance Secretary, BSNL Chairman between 1997-98, representatives of 11 firms which benefited in 2008 and 22 private companies which got advantage due to 1999 telecom migration policy will be asked to appear.
Chacko said the Committee has not received any suggestion to call officials of the Prime Minister’s Office as witnesses.
He termed as unfortunate reports in a section of the media that former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee would be called for recording of evidence by the JPC.