Mumbai/New Delhi, Jan 12 (Agencies): After registering a Preliminary Enquiry into the role of banks in 2G spectrum scam, CBI on Wednesday examined documents of some public sector banks which had given loans to some real estate firms by side stepping laid-down procedures.

Highly-placed sources in the agency said documents of some of the banks in Delhi and Mumbai were examined by the sleuths of CBI's Bank Securities and Fraud Cell and the banks were asked about the files under which the loans were granted to telecom companies, especially Uninor and STel.

Widening its probe into the 2G spectrum allocation scam, CBI has registered a PE to probe the role of certain public sector banks, including the State Bank of India, for providing loans to certain companies which were allocated the 2G Spectrum licenses in 2007-08.

Under the PE, which was registered against unnamed bank officials and companies, CBI can only examine the documents and not seize them.

The allegation is that some banks had violated the laid- down norms and provided finance to the two real estate companies which made forays into the telecom market by procuring the spectrum auctioned during the said period, the sources said.

This is the second PE registered by CBI in connection with the 2G spectrum scam besides a regular case against unnamed officials of the Department of Telecom and private companies.

According to the PE, the banks sanctioned loans to the tune of Rs 11,500 crore to the two real estate companies by allegedly ignoring risk factors, given that the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) had already registered a case in the 2G scam and CBI had begun its probe.

The public sector banks had given Rs 10,000 crore to Unitech-Telenor consortium and Rs 1,538 crore to STel, based just on the licence papers issued by the Department of Telecom (DoT).

Out of the Rs 10,000-crore loan to Uninor, a joint venture between Unitech and Telenor of Norway, the State Bank of India sanctioned a loan of Rs 8,050 crore to the consortium during 2009-2010 out of which the company had picked up Rs 500 crore so far.

The other banks which gave money to Uninor were South Indian Bank, Corporation Bank, Allahabad Bank, Canara Bank, Oriental Bank, Central Bank of India, Punjab National Bank, Standard Chartered Bank and Yes Bank.

STel got Rs 1538-crore loan from IDBI and IDBI Trusteeship Services Limited during the period between July to November 2009.

In December last year, the Supreme Court had come down heavily on public sector banks for their role in the 2G spectrum scam.
Sticking to the rules, CAG said, it did respond to the public statements or on media reports as the report was under the consideration of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of Parliament.

"It is in obedience to this Rule (para 1.12 of the Rules of Parliamentary Procedure) the CAG, who is an important adjunct of the PAC and attends all its meetings, did not make any comment on media reports on comments made by others on the report of the 2G Spectrum allocation, as it was under discussion of the PAC," it said.

The meetings of the PAC on the 2G Spectrum Audit Report began from December 27, 2010 and are continuing.

Putting things in "proper perspective", CAG said that under Article 151 of the Constitution, the auditor submits its report to the President who causes them to be laid before each House of Parliament.

The audit report on the issue of licences and allocation of 2G Spectrum by the Telecom Department placed in Parliament on November 16, 2010.

"Once the report has been placed on the Table of the House, it becomes a public document," CAG said, adding thereafter its officials held a press conference to explain the findings to the media.

The practice of holding press conferences after the submission of the report, it added, was being followed since 1980s.

"In this case the press conference for briefing the media on the audit report on the issue of licences and allocation of 2G spectrum was held by Rekha Gupta, Dy CAG in the office after 3 PM on November 16, 2010, itself, after the report was placed in the Parliament," it said.      The report, CAG added, was simultaneously placed on the official website of the auditor.

Congress spokesperson Tewari had accused the CAG of going public with the report even before it was tabled in Parliament.

"First of all CAG went public with the report, when it should have been tabled on the floor of Parliament and would have automatically gone for the consideration of the PAC," Tewari had said.