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CBI examines fresh set of documents of Essar-Loop in 2G case

New Delhi: Ahead of filing a fresh charge sheet, the CBI is examining the new set of documents provided by the Essar group suggesting that the Ruias-led group held only 2.15 per cent stake in Loop telecom and not over 10 per cent as alleged at the time when 2G license was been granted.

The agency, which is expected to file its charge sheet a day before the next hearing in the Supreme Court on July 7, was scrutinising the documents provided by the oil major as well as the Corporate Affairs Ministry which states that Essar had only 2.15 per cent shares in Loop telecom on September 3, 2007, the date on which the application was made to Department of Telecom for Unified Access Services License.

A senior CBI official, associated with the probe, said though its investigation was complete, the agency was looking at the fresh documents submitted by the Essar and also trying to corroborate the same.

The Registrar of Companies (Mumbai) has said, "The Essar Group, directly or indirectly, held only 2.15 per cent of Loop Telecom as on 3.9.07, 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.

"We cannot base our investigation merely on the documents even if it is from Ministry of Corporate Affairs. We are awaiting some documents from Mauritius about the transactions and we will finalise our findings very soon," the official said and chose not to confirm or deny that they had got some evidence during the team`s visit to the African Island nation.

CBI had on Friday questioned Loop Telecom CEO Sandip Basu in connection with the ownership and shareholding pattern of the company.

Basu was quizzed on alleged financial dealings with the Essar group, the steel-turned-telecom conglomerate and the fresh set of documents received by the agency. The agency suspects that Loop acted as a front for the Essar group in bagging telecom licences in an violation of rules.

The CBI had in February quizzed Essar Telecom CEO Prashant Ruia in connection with the 2G spectrum allocation scam. Later his brother-in-law I K Khaitan was also summoned to the CBI during which he was handed over a questionnaire to clear the air about the allegation that Essar had a stake of more than 10 per cent when the company got license in telcom circles across the country.

As per `substantial equity` clause of the licence, a company can not hold more than 10 per cent in two operating licencees in same circle.

The documents submitted to the CBI include an RoC observation that Essar group have been a net borrower from Khaitan group during March 2006 and September 2007.

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