AG report on Essar-Loop case soon, CBI to decide

New Delhi: The CBI is expecting an opinion soon from Attorney General G E Vahanvati on its investigations into the Essar`s shareholding in Loop Telecom, after which the agency would decide on whether to file a charge sheet in the case. The agency had approached the country`s top law officer after its legal department differed with its findings on cross-holding of shares of Essar in Loop Telecom in connection with the 2G scam, contending there is no ground for a case against it.

The Department of Prosecution`s (DoP) opinion was similar to the one given by the Corporate Affairs Ministry, which had given a clean chit to Essar, saying its shareholding pattern was 2.15 per cent, less than the mandatory 10 per cent. Highly-placed sources said that the agency could go by the opinion of the Attorney General and not that of the Ministry of Corporate Affairs` or the Law Ministry`s.

The Corporate Affairs Ministry has said the Ruias-led group held only 2.15 per cent stake in Loop Telecom and not over 10 per cent as alleged, when 2G licence was granted. CBI alleged that the cross-holding of shares of Essar in Loop Telecom was over prescribed 10 per cent, a charge denied by both the companies.

The Registrar of Companies (Mumbai) had said, "The Essar Group, directly or indirectly, held only 2.15 per cent of Loop Telecom as on September 3, 2007 i.e. the date on which the application was made to DoT for UAS licence".

The RoC letter also said that the documents of the company do not substantiate "Associate" relationship between "Essar Group and Khaitan Group" as alleged. Several of the companies officials, including Prashant Ruia, were quizzed by the CBI at length ever since the agency started probe into the case.