New Delhi: Ratan Tata and Anil Ambani will appear before a parliamentary committee that is probing a multi-billion-dollar telecom licencing scandal, their companies said in separate statements.
The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) is investigating alleged corruption in the sale of 2G telecom licences in 2007-08, which a state auditor said cost New Delhi up to $39 billion in lost revenue, and led to the sacking of a former telecom minister.
Niira Radia, a high-profile lobbyist whose leaked taped conversations with industrialists and politicians, including Tata and the former telecom minister, made headlines late last year, also will also appear before the panel, her agency said.
The appearance of two of India’s most well-known business figures will be seen as a sign of a widening probe into the licensing case, which has hit the ruling coalition government and damaged investor confidence in Asia’s third-largest economy.
“Mr R.N. Tata has expressed his willingness to appear before the PAC on April 4th in connection with the recent developments in the telecom sector including allocation of 2G and 3G spectrum,” a Tata Sons spokesperson said in statement.
Tata Sons is the holding company of the salt-to-software Tata Group conglomerate which controls Tata Teleservices, India’s fifth-largest mobile telecom carrier.
Billionaire Anil Ambani’s Reliance ADA Group said in a separate statement: “Anil Ambani welcomes the opportunity to appear before (the) PAC.”
The company did not elaborate.
Reliance Communications, India’s second-largest mobile telecom carrier, is controlled by Ambani.
“We continue to extend our cooperation and will be present before the PAC to answer queries and present any clarifications,” a spokesperson for Radia’s Vaishnavi Corporate Communications said in a separate statement.