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Swan Telecom Not A "Front Company" Of RTL: Witness

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A prosecution witness on Friday (1 March) told a Delhi court that Swan Telecom Pvt Ltd, whose promoter Shahid Usman Balwa and others are facing trial in the 2G spectrum case, was not a "front company" of Reliance Telecom Ltd (RTL).

The statement assumes significance as Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), in its charge sheet filed against former Telecom Minister A Raja, three top executives of Reliance ADAG, RTL and others, had alleged that RTL had used Swan Telecom, an ineligible firm, as its front company to get 2G licenses and the costly radio waves.

"It is correct that RCom/RTL never intended to hold more than 9.99 per cent equity in Swan Capital/Telecom (P) Limited.

"It is correct that Swan Telecom (P) Limited was neither an alter ego nor a front company of Reliance Telecom/Reliance Communications/RCom group," Hasit Shukla, President of Reliance Communications (P) Limited, told Special CBI Judge O.P. Saini during his cross examination.

The CBI had alleged that the accused had "structured" the holding of Swan Telecom in a manner that only 9.9 per cent equity was held by RTL and rest 90.1 per cent was shown to be held by Tiger Traders Pvt Ltd, although the entire company was held by Reliance ADAG through the funds raised from RTL.

Group MD of RADAG Gautam Doshi, group President Surendra Pipara and senior vice president Hari Nair, along with RTL, were chargesheeted by the CBI for entering into a criminal conspiracy to cheat the government by getting licenses in an illegal manner.

Shukla, during the recording of statement in the court earlier, had identified signature of Reliance ADAG Chairman Anil Ambani on the documents attached to the account opening form of AAA Consultancy Services Co. (P) Ltd which is allegedly an "associate" company of RADAG. (More) PTI ABA

During the cross examination which concluded on Friday, Shukla was shown an annual report of RTL for 2006-07 and he said that it contains a list of its subsidiary/associate companies and Swan Telecom (P) Limited "does not appear either as subsidiary or associate."

Besides Raja and Balwa, Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) Member of Parliament (MP) Kanimozhi, former Telecom Secretary Siddharth Behura, Raja's erstwhile private secretary R K Chandolia, Swan Telecom promoter Vinod Goenka, Unitech Ltd MD Sanjay Chandra and three top executives of Reliance ADAG are facing trial in the case.

Directors of Kusegaon Fruits and Vegetables Pvt Ltd Asif Balwa and Rajiv Agarwal, Kalaignar TV Director Sharad Kumar and Bollywood producer Karim Morani are also accused in the case.

Besides these 14 accused persons, three telecom firms -- Swan Telecom Pvt Ltd (STPL), Reliance Telecom Ltd and Unitech Wireless (Tamil Nadu) Ltd -- are also facing trial in the case.