ED slaps FEMA charges against top telecom firms

New Delhi: The Enforcement Directorate on Saturday slapped various charges of FEMA violations to the tune of over Rs 4,300 crore against top telecom firms allegedly involved in the 2G spectrum scam including Swan, Loop and S-Tel.
The Directorate in its complaint filed before the Competent Adjudicating Authority for FEMA violations said it is also probing "suspected contravention" of forex rules in Virgin Mobile, a joint venture of Tata group.
The Adjudicating Authority in this case is a Special Director rank officer of the ED.
The ED has charged Shahid Balwa-promoted Swan Telecom, with committing FEMA contraventions to the tune of Rs 3,608 crore.

"This contravention was done by the company in issuing shares to foreign investor and resident investor under an agreement and had issued shares to foreign investor on an abnormal value to avoid the permission of FIPB (Foreign Investment Promotion Board), Government of India," the ED said in its complaint against Swan Telecom.
Swan Telecom Pvt Ltd issued 44.73 per cent shares to Dubai-based Etisalat and 5.27 per cent shares to Genex Exim as per agreement on September 23, 2009.
Swan Telecom while issuing shares to foreign investor under the agreement also allegedly contravened the provisions of the laid down rules prescribed by the Commerce and Industry Ministry by appointing a Director who had been nominated by Dubai-based Etisalat and arrangement of a steering committee having members of their foreign partner for functioning of Swan Telecom.
The ED also alleged that Swan Telecom had disclosed that issue of equity to Genex Exim was under resident category but during investigations it was found that "it was an indirect foreign investment in Swan because funds into Genex were brought from Dubai."
"Thus issue of equity on December 17, 2008 by Swan to Etisalat and Genex totalling 50 per cent under automatic route was in contravention" of various sections of FEMA "for the amount of Rs 3,608 crore", the ED alleged.
In the case of Loop Mobile India Limited based in Mumbai, the ED alleged FEMA contravention to a total amount of Rs 431 crore.
"These contraventions are done by the said company in not reporting the receipt of funds from abroad within the stipulated period of time to RBI, in not reporting issue of shares to foreign investor within stipulated period of time and in purchasing shares of an Indian company from the funds of Foreign Direct Investment," ED said in its complaint against the firm.
"The Directorate has also come across suspected contravention in Virgin Mobile (Tata group) and is analyzing the pricing issue of shares between Unitech and Telenor," the ED said.