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The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Wednesday moved the Supreme Court to cancel Unitech Managing Director Sanjay Chandra's bail in the 2G spectrum scam case saying that a taped conversation between him and former CBI prosecutor AK Singh to muddle up the case has been found to be genuine.
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Wednesday moved the Supreme Court to cancel Unitech Managing Director Sanjay Chandra's bail in the 2G spectrum scam case saying that a taped conversation between him and former CBI prosecutor AK Singh to muddle up the case has been found to be genuine. The veracity of the tapes in which Chandra is speaking to Singh has been proved during a test at the CFSL, Chandigarh, claimed CBI while moving the application.
The CBI in its application also mentioned that Chandra will tamper with evidence in the case and had violated bail conditions.
The 2G case has been a case which has involved some of the biggest names in politics, corporate India and the bureaucracy. For the last three years, the 2G case has become synonymous with a corrupt system and has had many twists and turns.
The CNN-IBN investigation into the 2G case had revealed that the CBI suspected its own prosecutor of aiding the accused. The CBI registered a Preliminary Enquiry report, which named the lead 2G prosecutor AK Singh. The CBI Preliminary Enquiry Report also named Unitech MD Sanjay Chandra.
The CBI said the agency possessed audio recordings with the suspected voices of Singh and Chandra. According to the CBI the prosecutor shared the legal strategy with the accused, Sanjay Chandra. The CBI also removed AK Singh from the case.
CNN-IBN had accessed the audio recordings which led to the Preliminary Enquiry naming Chandra and the 2G prosecutor. The CBI Director says he has informed the Chief Justice of India (Supreme Court), the Central Vigilance Commissioner and the Law Ministry on the revelations.
In terms of scale and profile the 2G case is as big as it can get. It is monitored by the Supreme Court and the then telecom minister A Raja spent 15 months in jail while DMK MP Kanimozhi was denied bail for seven months. Former Telecom Secretary Siddharth Behuria and top corporate leaders, including Sanjay Chandra of Unitech, were even denied bail for months.
In the 2G case the main accused A Raja, Unitech MD Sanjay Chandra and 12 others including Kanimozhi have been examined by the prosecution. Cross-examination of the accused and witnesses is now on. A verdict is expected by the end of the year.
Now comes the shocking development that, if proven, could change the course of the 2G case. CNN-IBN also accessed a Preliminary Enquiry registered by the CBI which states AK Singh who represented CBI in the 2G case has allegedly colluded with the accused Sanjay Chandra, MD OF Unitech. The CBI Preliminary Enquiry says AK Singh shared the strategy of the CBI prosecution and even advised the accused Sanjay Chandra how to defend himself in the case.
CNN-IBN has accessed the recording where three people are being heard discussing the legal strategy and the way forward.
In an exclusive interview to CNN-IBN the then CBI Director Ranjit Sinha confirmed the agency was using the recording as a basis for the Preliminary Enquiry and further probe, and to conclusively establish the voices belong to Unitech's Sanjay Chandra and CBI prosecutor AK Singh.
Sources say going by the conversation being probed by the CBI, it appeared the prosecutor was helping the accused in one of the most hight profile cases. The CBI has also named Sanjay Chandra in the preliminary enquiry filed on February 6.
The then CBI Director Ranjit Sinha told CNN-IBN they have taken this very seriously and has informed the Supreme Court, Central Vigilance Commissioner, Law Ministry and the Department of Personal and Training.
Sources confirmed the audio recording with the CBI was at least 17 minutes in duration.
The Preliminary Enquiry said prima facie the information revealed gross misconduct on the part of CBI prosecutor AK Singh and accused Sanjay Chandra.
Sanjay Chandra along with former telecom minister A Raja and 12 others have been charged with conspiracy, forgery and cheating in the 2G case. Raja is accused of tinkering with procedure and policy to help Unitech and other companies to get the 2G licences. They are also charged with benefiting Unitech to make windfall gains by selling stakes at a premium to Telenor. The trial is currently in the court of OP Saini in Delhi's Patiala House.
The Preliminary Enquiry raised massive questions over the nexus between the prosecutor and the accused and also raises fresh doubts on what else could have been shared and who else could have been been involved since the CBI began its probe and prosecution of the accused.
Analysts believe that it is not going to affect the stock or the fundamentals too much because any way the company has been seeing no progress at all.
Of course, this 2G case has been the biggest overhang for the stock for the last many months and years. However, one has seen the performance or the fundamentals of the company deteriorate as well. The projects are not going anywhere for Unitech.
In fact, delivery of several projects is running well behind schedule by approximately six to eight quarters. In the recent numbers that they posted as well the margins are at record low of about 8.2 percent. The debt is really high at Rs 5600 crore. So, fundamentals are not improving for the company and this is just an added downside that the stock will see because of the 2G case.
Unitech stock price
On April 17, 2014, Unitech closed at Rs 16.04, up Rs 0.40, or 2.56 percent. The 52-week high of the share was Rs 31.50 and the 52-week low was Rs 10.86.
The company's trailing 12-month (TTM) EPS was at Rs 0.49 per share as per the quarter ended December 2013. The stock's price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio was 32.73. The latest book value of the company is Rs 37.42 per share. At current value, the price-to-book value of the company is 0.43.
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