2G case: Tina Ambani withholding facts, says CBI
After her husband Anil Ambani, Tina Ambani appeared in a Delhi court as a witness in the 2G spectrum case and CBI claimed that she was "deliberately withholding facts" which the judge found was "adverse" to the prosecution.
New Delhi: After her husband Anil Ambani, Tina Ambani appeared in a Delhi court as a witness in the 2G spectrum case and CBI claimed that she was "deliberately withholding facts" which the judge found was "adverse" to the prosecution.
Special CBI judge O P Saini hearing the case said her adverseness sprang from her failure to recall about the companies, said to be associates of RADAG, relating to which she had signed the documents.
"In the instant case, though there is no previous statement of witness (Tina), nor has she introduced any new fact adverse to the prosecution, but has certainly signed some documents, which have been shown to her.
"As such, her adverseness springs from her not recalling about the companies relating to which she signed the documents," Judge Saini said while allowing the CBI to cross-examine its own witness Tina Ambani.
Her husband was yesterday cross-examined by CBI lawyer after he resiled from his statement made during the probe in February, 2011.
During the recording of statement, when Tina said she did "not have any knowledge" of Swan Telecom Pvt Ltd, facing trial in the case, special public prosecutor U U Lalit requested the court that he be permitted to put one question to her, "which an adverse party is permitted to put in cross-examination."
Lalit said that Tina has not "disclosed true facts" in the court regarding identification of some persons, companies and the business conducted in the meetings of these firms.
The defence counsel opposed Lalit's arguments saying "no foundation" has been laid for asking such question and Tina has neither resiled from any of her earlier statements nor has she denied her signatures.
The court, however, permitted the prosecutor to ask questions from Tina while overruling the objections of defence lawyers.
During her deposition, the judge remarked that Tina was better than her husband Anil Ambani in answering questions in the court.
"Ye Ambani sahab se to better hai (She is better than Ambani)," the judge said with a smile.
When the prosecutor continued asking questions to Tina, senior advocate Harish Salve said, "I agree she is a very charming witness and that is why the prosecutor wants to go on and on."
This remark, however, did not go well with the prosecutor requesting Salve not to pass such comments.
During recording of Tina's statement, which started at 2 PM in a jam-packed courtroom and concluded today itself, 55-year-old Tina said she does not know Reliance ADAG's top executives Surendra Pipara and Hari Nair, who are facing trial along with Group's MD Gautam Doshi.
She also denied CBI's claims that she was "deliberately withholding facts" from the court regarding the roles of three executives in the alleged associate firms of the Group.
"It is wrong to suggest that I know Surendra Pipara and Hari Nair and I am deliberately withholding their role from the court in the aforesaid companies. However, I know Gautam Doshi as tax consultant and socially. It is wrong to suggest that I am deliberately withholding his role in the aforesaid companies (RADAG's alleged associate firms)," she said.
She also denied that she knew "everything" about the six companies, which are said to be associate firms of Reliance ADAG.
"It is wrong to suggest that I know everything about the six companies, that is, ADAE Ventures (P) Ltd, AAA Consultancy Services Co (P) Ltd, Tiger Traders (P) Ltd, Zebra Consultants (P) Ltd, Parrot Consultants (P) Ltd and Swan Consultants (P) Ltd, and I am deliberately withholding facts from the court in this regard," she said during her cross examination by CBI.
During her one-an-half-hour long deposition, Tina told the court that she had "no role" in the running of Reliance ADAG as she was "a housewife, run a hospital and do a lot of social work."
"I have never been associated with any company of this Group", she deposed.
The CBI prosecutor showed her various documents of these six associate firms and asked, "on seeing these documents, do you recall your role in these companies as chairperson of some board meetings, authorized signatory for operating bank accounts and as director, wherever you were so."
Responding to the query, Tina said she does not recall any of her role but if it was mentioned in the documents, then she must have acted in that capacity.
"I do not recall any of my aforesaid role, but if it is so minuted/ documented, I must have so acted, as the matter is as old as 2006. I do not know Hari Nair and Surendra Pipara at all. I only know that Gautam Doshi is a tax consultant, though I never interacted with him."
"After seeing the aforesaid documents, I am unable to recall the role played by Gautam Doshi, Hari Nair and Surendra Pipara in the aforesaid six companies," Tina said.
Although, she repeatedly told the court that she does not know about the associate companies she identified her as well as Anil Ambani's signatures on the bank documents of these firms.
When she was shown a bank document of one of these firms, she told the court that as per the document, "I am signatory of category I, without any limit, as written in the document itself."
During the recording of statement, Tina was shown documents regarding bank declaration and she said that she was neither "acquainted" with the document nor the contents thereof.
"I have signed these documents when they were sent to me for signing by the professional team of the companies and I have no reason not to trust them," she said.
The CBI prosecutor showed her the minutes book of ADAE Ventures (P) Ltd, she said that as per the minutes of board meeting held on February 8, 2006, she was shown as a director.
Tina also said that as per the documents, "the business shown to have been transacted must have been transacted, if it has been minuted therein."
Regarding the meeting of one of the firms held in 2006, she said that if Anil Ambani was shown to be present in it as a director, "he must have attended it, but I do not recall it as the meeting took place long back in 2006."
On being asked about the transfer of shares in the firms, she said that it has all been "minuted" as per the documents and "it must have been done."
Similarly, on the question regarding transfer of some shares from her and Anil Ambani in favour of Tiger Traders (P) Ltd, Zebra Consultants (P) Ltd and Parrot Consultants (P) Ltd, she said these transfers "must have taken place as the same have been minuted."