Reliance ADAG Chairman Anil Ambani has been allowed exemption from personally appearing as a prosecution witness in the trial court till the second week of August. Anil Ambani had moved an exemption application after the Supreme Court posted Reliance Telecom Limited's plea challenging a court order asking him to appear as prosecution witness, for hearing on Monday.
Reliance Telecom had approached the apex court objecting to summoning of Anil as witness in the case before he was summoned by the trial court. He was then summoned by the trial court as a CBI witness on July 26. RTL, facing trial in the case, had moved the Supreme Court against the trial court's order as the apex court had earlier restrained all other courts, including high court, from entertaining any plea arising out of 2G scam case.
The CBI had in its plea said that the Reliance ADA Group Chairman's testimony is needed to explain why Reliance invested over Rs 900 crore in Swan Telecom Pvt Ltd, facing trial in the case along with its promoters Shahid Usman Balwa and Vinod Goenka. The court had also allowed 11 others to be examined in the case.
Anil Ambani had told the CBI that questions on shell firms allegedly related to his company can be "best answered" by his colleagues as he has "full faith" on them. He had also claimed before the CBI that Tatas had "funded" Unitech's applications and fee for grant of 2G spectrum licences during the tenure of former Telecom Minister A Raja.
In a statement given to CBI on February 16, 2011, Ambani had said he "does not" admit that Swan Telecom Pvt Ltd, facing trial in the case along with its promoters, was a Reliance ADA Group company and that he has lost his "prestige" in the entire saga. Ambani's statement was placed before the court on Monday.
The CBI, in its chargesheet, had alleged that Reliance ADAG's firm Reliance Telecom Ltd (RTL) had used Swan Telecom, an ineligible firm, as its front company to get licenses and the costly radio waves. Three top executives of Reliance ADAG are facing trial in the case along with others, including Unitech Ltd MD Sanjay Chandra and Unitech Wireless (Tamil Nadu) Ltd.
"I would like to state that in this entire process, I have not gained anything and, on the contrary, I have lost my prestige/image. I am a net loser since 2008. Market capital of Reliance Communications has come down drastically. It was vision of my father to make telecom for public," Ambani has said in his statement.
On being asked about the alleged shell companies and funds which purportedly came through the firms promoted by RADAG, he said, "All the paper work is done by my colleagues and these questions can be best answered by my colleagues." "There are millions of transactions and I cannot recollect each and every one of them. I do not admit that Swan Telecom was a Reliance ADA Group company," he said.
(With additional information from PTI)