ED responds to SC notice in 2G spectrum case

ED, which is investigating alleged irregularities in allocation of 2G licences in 2008 by Telecom Minister A Raja, has informed the SC that it has already initiated probe against firms suspected to have violated FEMA.

New Delhi: The Enforcement Directorate,
which is investigating alleged irregularities in allocation of
2G licences in 2008 by Telecom Minister A Raja, has informed
the Supreme Court that it has already initiated probe against
firms suspected to have violated FEMA.

"The ED has already initiated investigation for alleged
FEMA (Foreign Exchange Management Act) violation on July 27
against M/S Loop telecom Ltd and Essar Group based on specific
written complaints," the directorate said in an affidavit.

The four-page affidavit, filed in compliance with the
September 13 order of the apex court, said the ED would like
to file the status report into the investigation in a sealed
cover as "the disclosure of the facts" may not be in the
interests of the ongoing probe at this stage.

The ED said it was not filing a detailed affidavit and
maintained, like CBI, that the probe was being conducted in a
fair and impartial manner. It added that at this stage it was
not in a position to deny or agree with the allegations made
in the allocation of 2G spectrum and licences.

"...my (ED) not filing detailed affidavit at this stage
may not be deemed to be admission of any of the contentions
urged which I hereby deny. I further beg to submit that the
investigations are being carried out in a fair and impartial
manner," said the ED officer who filed the affidavit.

The case pertains to alleged scam in connection with the
Rs 70,000-crore allotment of 2G spectrum licences by Raja.

Along with Raja, the names of certain public servants,
middlemen and corporate lobbyist Niira Radia, have also
surfaced for their alleged involvement in the conspiracy for
granting Unified Access Service (telecom) licences.

The ED affidavit said the alleged FEMA violations by
Loop Telecom, was being looked by the ED on the basis of
specific written complaints.

The agency further submitted it has already registered
Enforcement Case Information Report (ECIR) on March 9 this
year, under Prevention of Money Laundering Act, on the basis
of the FIR registered by CBI in the spectrum allocation scam.

On September 13, the Supreme Court had sought responses
from the Centre, Raja, CBI, ED and income tax department.

CBI has filed the response asserting that it was probing
in a "fair and impartial" manner the alleged irregularities
but was not in a position at this stage to deny or agree with
the charges. It placed the status report on the investigation
in a sealed envelope.

Raja, his ministry and others are yet to respond.

A bunch of petitions filed by an NGO, Centre for Public
Interest Litigation (CPIL) and others had alleged that the
Centre was trying to put a lid on the investigation into the
alleged irregularities in spectrum licence allocation.

-PTI

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