ibnlive » India

Nov 19, 2011 at 04:13pm IST

Mahajan tenure probe: Airtel, Vodafone raided

New Delhi: The Central Bureau Of Investigation (CBI) on Saturday decided to investigate about discrepancies in 2G spectrum allocation during the Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance government. Additional allocation of the 2G spectrum during the late BJP leader and the then telecom minister Pramod Mahajan's tenure will be investigated with the CBI registering a second FIR.

After the FIR, the CBI conducted raids at Vodafone office in Mumbai and Airtel office in Gurgaon. The residences of former telecom secretary Shyamal Ghosh and former director of Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) JR Gupta have also been raided by the investigating agency.

Mahajan was telecom minister between 2001 and 2003. The raids come after the Supreme Court order for a preliminary investigation into all spectrum allocation from 2001 to 2007. However, Mahajan has not been named as an accused since he died in 2006.

The case is a follow up of the Supreme Court ordered preliminary enquiry in which spectrum allocation during tenures of former telecom ministers Mahajan, Arun Shourie and Dayanidhi Maran were being probed.

This is the second FIR in this preliminary enquiry after a case was registered against Maran.

BJP Leader Prakash Javdekar reacted to the raids and said, "2G was a coalition corruption to which Congress is equally responsible."

Bharti Airtel released a statement after the FIR was filed. The statement read, "We would like to categorically state that all the spectrum allotted to us from time to time has been strictly as per the stated Government policy. We are providing all details and correspondence to the authorities and shall provide complete support as needed in the matter."

Bharti Airtel spokesperson said, "Bharti Airtel has always maintained the highest standards of corporate governance and regulatory compliance."

Vodafone India also issued a statement saying, "There was a visit by CBI officials this morning at our office in Mumbai and Delhi seeking information related to the spectrum allocation to operators during 2001-02. All our documents are in complete compliance with the governing laws and regulations."

The CBI in September had submitted its report on Shourie and Maran.

The agency has already filed a case with regard to alleged conspiracy in the Aircel-Maxis deal during the tenure of Maran.

The CBI's preliminary enquiry report had indicted the late BJP leader Pramod Mahajan for causing losses to the exchequer and favouring private companies, as telecom minister.

Mahajan had allotted additional spectrum beyond 6.2 MHZ and upto 10 MHZ by charging only additional 1 per cent revenue share.

According to sources Mahajan's decision had caused revenue loss of Rs 565 crores to Department of Telecom (DoT).

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