New Delhi: The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) may name former telecom minister A. Raja, Kalaignar TV managing director Sharad Kumar, former managing director of DB Realty LtdShahid Balwa and other arrested accused in its first chargesheet in the second-generation (2G) spectrum allocation case to be filed before a special court on 31 March.
Kanimozhi, Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) leader and daughter of Tamil Nadu chief minister M. Karunanidhi, is unlikely to be named in the chargesheet, said a top CBI official investigating the case on condition of anonymity. Karunanidhi’s wife Dayalu Ammal is also unlikely to be named in this, he said.
The agency may also mention two companies—Etisalat DB Telecom India Pvt. Ltd, earlier known as Swan Telecom Pvt. Ltd, and Unitech in its chargesheet. Etisalat DB is a joint venture between DB Group and Dubai’s Etisalat.
“Dayalu Ammal was a sleeping partner in the firm. Kanimozhi may be aware of the developments, but it was Sharad Kumar who was running Kalaignar TV on a day-to-day basis,” the official quoted above said.
Another CBI official, who too did not want to be named, confirmed the development.
The CBI move could prove to be a breather for the DMK-Congress alliance before the Tamil Nadu assembly elections on 13 April.
On 11 March, CBI questioned Kanimozhi, a Rajya Sabha member, and Dayalu Ammal about the Rs214 crore transferred from Cineyug Entertainment to Kalaignar TV. Ammal, mother of M.K. Stalin and M.K. Alagiri, holds a 60% stake in Kalaignar TV, while Kanimozhi, born to Karunanidhi’s third wife Rajathi Ammal, holds a 20% stake in the TV channel. Kumar owns the rest.
A Unitech spokesperson rejected all accusations of wrongdoing in an emailed response to queries.
“We are a responsible corporate, functioning within the guidelines prescribed by the sovereign government and abiding by the law of the land and have been fully cooperating with the investigating agency,” the spokesperson said. “As we have stated earlier, there are many source-based rumours being circulated by vested interests to malign company reputation.”
The agency has said in court documents that it suspects the Rs214 crore may have been a kickback paid by Balwa in lieu of 22 licences granted to Swan Telecom.
Balwa, who is in Delhi’s Tihar jail after being arrested from his Mumbai residence on 7 February, has denied all charges, saying the payment was a pure “business transaction”.
Kumar did not reply to phone calls and messages.
“Our chargesheet will establish criminal conspiracy between Raja, Balwa and Kalaignar TV. We will fix charges on Raja’s then personal secretary R.K. Chandolia and then telecom secretary Siddharth Behura,” the second official said.
The agency believes that once a chargesheet is filed, it will become difficult for those under scrutiny to secure bail from the CBI court hearing the case.
“Criminal culpability of Swan Telecom (now Etisalat DB) as well as Unitech will be fixed in the chargesheet. We will say that the moment Unitech filed its application for licences, Raja closed the policy of first-come-first-served. Raja favoured Unitech,” the second official said.
CBI said the first chargesheet is only about 10% of the investigations. It will be followed by more chargesheets. “It is likely that we may file separate chargesheets against each telco,” the official added.
Etisalat DB did not reply to an email and phone calls.