CBI initiates probe against Tata group over telecom license violation

Telecom Lead India: The
Central Bureau of Investigations (CBI) has initiated a probe almost
six-year-old dispute between the Tatas and the Aditya Birla Group.

Aditya Birla Nuvo Ltd alleged that the Tata group violated
the license condition in the 2005-06 period. During this period, Tata Group was
a partner in Idea Cellular and owned more than 10 percent equity in both
the groups.

The CBI is probing whether the Tata group violated telecom
license conditions by holding more than 10 percent equity in more than one
company in a service area.

As per the license norms, an entity is not allowed to hold
more than 10% in more than one company providing mobile services in an area.

Recently, the ministry of corporate affairs (MCA) issued
notices to three Tata group companies, asking them to furnish their
shareholding details by June 13.

Last year, the DoT asked MCA to examine if Tata Sons held
more than 10 per cent stake in Idea Cellular and Tata Teleservices at the same

The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has already sent
the relevant files to the CBI.  An internal DoT note revealed that the
vigilance wing of the DoT forwarded a bunch of papers received by them from the
CBI on the same subject.

The DoT had earlier sought information regarding the
shareholding pattern of the Tata group in Idea, TTSL and TTML from the ministry
of corporate affairs.

“We are in no position to comment on whether or not any
department of the government is enquiring into any matter. We have not received
any enquiry from any department of the government,” said a spokesperson of Tata
Industries Ltd (TIL).

Ratan Tata led Tata group operates services through Tata
Teleservices Ltd (TTSL) and Tata Teleservices Maharashtra Ltd (TTML) in some of
the areas overlapping that of Idea Cellular.

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