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Raja, Behura quizzed by CBI for Loop-Essar

New Delhi: Carrying on its probe into the 2G scam, the CBI has recorded the statements of jailed former telecom Minister A Raja and the then telecom secretary Siddhartha Behura in connection with grant of spectrum licence to Loop and the role of Essar group.

Highly-placed sources said the duo was quizzed after the recent communications from Ministry of Corporate Affairs and some legal opinions expressed by former legal experts claimed that Ruias-led Essar group had only 2.15 per cent stake in Loop Telecom at the time of grant of 2G licence.

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

Raja and Behura were questioned in the jail lock-up earlier this week after a special court gave permission to the CBI to quiz the two along with Reliance ADAG group MD Gautam Doshi. The agency had pleaded that further investigation is being carried out and the three accused are required to be examined in judicial custody in the interest of the case.

The interrogation of Raja, former Telecom Secretary Siddharth Behura and Reliance ADAG group MD Gauram Dosh, which took place in the Patiala House court complex, lasted for three hours with everyone quizzed separately for one hour each.

The sources said that Raja and Behura were questioned in connection with the Essar-Loop controversy as the agency claims that the oil major had more than 10 per cent stakes, a charge denied by the company.

The sources said the duo was questioned about some of the documents received by the agency from Mauritius.

They said Raja and Behura were in office when the spectrum was allocated to the Loop Telecom and hence there questioning was necessary before the agency could take a final view on filing a chargesheet before August 31.

The Registrar of Companies (Mumbai) had said that "the Essar Group, directly or indirectly, held only 2.15% 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 "documents of the company do not substantiate "Associate" relationship between "Essar Group and Khaitan Group" as alleged.

Doshi was also quizzed by the CBI after the money trail for Delphi Investment the company to which the 9.9 per cent stake held by Reliance Telecom in Swan was transferred in December 2007 had been moved to Switzerland.

Details and the funding pattern of Maavi Investment Fund, the company of which Delphi is a wholly-owned subsidiary, had also been received by the CBI.

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