‘Reliance Communications had no stake in Swan’

New Delhi, Nov 17 (Calcutta Tube) Reliance Communications Tuesday strongly denied having any stake in Swan Telecom, among the companies that India’s official auditor claims had benefited in the issue of 2G spectrum in 2008 during the tenure of then communications minister A. Raja.

‘Our group had no shareholding in Swan Telecom at the time of grant of license to them or any time thereafter, and that issue is accordingly not relevant to our company,’ a spokesperson for Reliance Communications said.

‘Reliance Communications has always been in full compliance with all applicable laws, rules and regulations, and there has been no violation of our license conditions at any stage on account of cross-holdings in excess of 10 percent.’

Swan Telecom is now called Etisalat DB.

Swan bought licences for 13 circles with the necessary spectrum for $340 million and later managed to sell a 45-percent stake to the UAE’s Etisalat for $900 million, taking its valuation to $2 billion without a single subscriber.

In the report tabled Tuesday, the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) said Raja had even ignored Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s advice and allotted radio frequency to new telecom players at low prices, resulting in a revenue loss of anywhere up to Rs.1.76 lakh crore (nearly $40 billion) to the nation.

The report was tabled in the Lok Sabha by Minister of State for Finance S.S. Palanimanickam, who belongs to Raja’s party DMK. In the Rajya Sabha, it was tabled by his colleague Minister of State for Finance Namo Narayan Meena.

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