Karela Fry

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2G Today: Anil Ambani, Manmohan Singh

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Here is an analysis of the prime minister’s press meet where he addressed this issue. Interestingly, the news desk interviewing the channel’s editor, Jehangir Pocha, forms the major part of this item.

The same Jehangir Pocha is heard here talking to Niira Radia. If Radia can dictate stories to the channel, then perhaps there could be hidden motives behind the above analysis of the prime minister’s speech. The existence of such motives does not, of course, invalidate all parts of the argument.

In a related development, FT reports on the summons to Anil Ambani by the CBI:

Anil Ambani, the Indian billionaire whose telecoms group is under scrutiny as part of an acrimonious spectrum licensing probe, has met anti-corruption investigators in the latest twist in a scandal that is unsettling investors.

A spokesman for the majority owner of Reliance Communications, India’s second-biggest telecoms group by subscribers, said Mr Ambani attended the police’s Central Bureau of Investigation headquarters in New Delhi on Wednesday “to clarify ongoing issues, relating to telecom matters for the years 2001 to 2010”.

The agency, which has summoned executives from several companies in the sector as part of its investigations, issued no summons to Mr Ambani, the spokesman said.

The CBI could not be reached for comment, but his meeting with its investigators was the first by any of the tycoons who dominate the scandal-prone sector in connection with the inquiry.

The probe concerns the allocation of scores of second generation (2G) mobile network licences in 2008 at what the national auditor subsequently described as “throwaway prices”. The auditor said the undervaluation cost the exchequer up to $39bn in lost revenue, a figure disputed by the government.

The auditor claimed that RCom had violated licensing regulations in 2008 by holding a larger-than-permitted stake in Swan Telecom, a smaller operator that was also applying for a licence.

For the story till now, see this


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