New Delhi: In a significant development, the CBI has informed the Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) probing the 2G scam that A Raja and his staff had threatened and pressurized officials in giving preference to Swan Telecom and Unitech over Tata group in the award of telecom licences.

The goon-culture practiced by Raja was exposed when Director CBI A P Singh who gave a detailed presentation on various aspects of spectrum allocation scam on June 7 told the panel that two officers who did not put the file, giving preference to Swan Telecom over Tata Tele-services Limited, were transferred by Secretary (Telecom) Siddarth Behura "in league with" Raja's private secretary R K Chandolia.
 
He told the JPC that the then Wireless Advisor R P Aggarwal was given "credible threat of consequences" and was forced to put up a note for allocating spectrum to Swan in Delhi circle, which was approved by Behura and Raja.
    
Giving details of the conspiracy at the Sanchar Bhavan, Singh told the JPC that TTSL got in principle approval for use of dual technology in 20 circles along with letters of intent given to new licensees on January 10, 2008. The company complied with the conditions and applied to Wireless Planning and Coordination for spectrum.
    
The applications filed by TTSL went missing from the DOT and the company was asked to file fresh applications on March 5, 2008 whereas the licences were signed for new applicants Swan and Unitech, the Director told the JPC.
    
He also described the relationship between Reliance Telecom and Swan Telecom saying the Anil Ambani-headed company structured in a manner that their association would remain under wraps.
    
Reliance Infocomm spokesperson refused to comment on the issue.


Balwa plea to visit Mumbai opposed


CBI on Thursday opposed the 2G spectrum allocation scam accused and Swan Telecom promoter Shahid Usman Balwa's plea for permission to visit Mumbai to attend an extra-ordinary general body meeting of Etisalat DB, his DB Realty group's joint venture firm with UAE's Etisalat.
    
CBI counsel Raman Kumar opposed the plea before Special Judge O P Saini apprehending that if allowed to visit Mumbai, Balwa could influence witnesses in the case.
    
"If accused (Balwa) is allowed to visit Mumbai, there are chances of his contacting and winning over witnesses," Kumar said opposing Balwa's plea seeking permission to attend the EGM of Etisalat DB on June 15 in Mumbai.
    
The court reserved its order on Balwa's plea for tomorrow after hearing the arguments from both sides.
    
No rights will be curtailed if Balwa is not allowed to attend the meeting by going to Mumbai, contended CBI adding he can attend the meeting through his proxy.
    
Balwa's counsel Vijay Aggarwal said "how will Balwa meet and influence witnesses when he will be going to the venue straight with two police personnel escorting him"?
    
He said his Mumbai trip is not going to affect the trial of the case as the meeting is on June 15 when the court will be closed for summer vacation. Balwa's lawyer had submitted that his client, who is a shareholder of Etisalat DB, will attend the meeting in the judicial custody and will bear all expenses including travel expenses.
    
Meanwhile, the court asked CBI to file its response by tomorrow on Balwa's other application seeking permission to appear before the Income Tax officials on June 20.
    
Balwa, arrested on February 8, has been chargesheeted for conspiring with government officials and former Telecom Minister A Raja to secure 2G spectrum licences and for giving Rs 200 crore bribe to DMK MP Kanimozhi.

JPN/Agencies