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Anil Ambani stocks plummet; 2G probe widens

Last updated on: February 9, 2011 15:25 IST

Anil Ambani stocks plummet; 2G probe widens

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Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group stocks plummeted on Wednesday after ADAG chairman Anil Ambani reportedly met Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal.

His call on the telecom minister comes in the backdrop of the ongoing 2G spectrum scam probe.

Reliance Communications fell over 16 per cent to Rs 93, Reliance Infrastructure tumbled to 52-week low of 520 down 21 per cent, Reliance Power slipped by 11 per cent to Rs 110, Reliance Capital dipped by 16 per cent to Rs 405, and Reliance MediaWorks tanked by 18 per cent to Rs 126.

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Image: ADAG chairman Anil Ambani.
Photographs: Reuters
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Anil Ambani stocks plummet; 2G probe widens

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The ADAG companies stocks fell on account of two things:

1. The new Trai recommendations on hiking the price of 2G spectrum by six times; and

2. The buzz an auditor who was examining the books of Reliance Communications on the instructions of the Department of Telecom had complained of victimisation and sought had asked the telecom ministry to provide protection to him.

Reports said that the auditor, Parakh & Company, in a complaint against Reliance Communications, had asked the DoT's urgent intervention to 'restrain RCom from adopting coercive tactics against it, and also withdraw proceedings against the firm at various forums'.

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Photographs: Reuters
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Anil Ambani stocks plummet; 2G probe widens

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The government had asked the Jaipur-based Parakh & Co to conduct the special audit of the accounts of Anil Ambani-promoted telecom firms for alleged evasion of licence fee, an Indiainfoline report said.

RCom, in its defence, had said that the audit firm was sensationalising the matter.

Earlier, in a development that has huge financial implications for existing (especially Reliance Communications) as well as new operators, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India has recommended fixing the price for 6.2 Mhz of pan-India start-up 2G spectrum at Rs 10,972.45 crore (Rs 109.724 billion), more than six times the present cost of Rs 1,658 crore (Rs 16.58 billion).

In its recommendations to the Department of Telecom, Trai has also said that every Mhz of additional spectrum (on an all-India basis) beyond the contracted limit of 6.2 Mhz would cost a massive Rs 4,571.87 crore (Rs 45.718 billion).

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Photographs: Reuters
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Most of the telecom firm, including Bharti, Vodafone, Idea and state-owned companies like BSNL and MTNL, hold extra spectrum beyond 6.2 Mhz and the new norms would put a huge financial burden on these telcos.

In addition, the licences of some of the operators, including Bharti, are due for renewal after completing 20 years periodicity in several circles. Such companies would have to pay to renew their licences as per the new norms recommended by Trai.

When contacted, Trai chairman J S Sarma told PTI, "Yes we have submitted the recommendations to the DoT on the revised norms for 2G spectrum pricing."

According to the report, the spectrum prices for both categories -- up to 6.2 Mhz and beyond 6.2 Mhz -- vary from circle to circle.

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Photographs: Reuters
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In the category of up to 6.2 Mhz of spectrum, the prices of one Mhz varies from Rs 7.60 crore (Rs 76 million) in the case of Jammu and Kashmir to Rs 187.38 crore (Rs 1.873 billion) in the case of Tamil Nadu.

In the category of beyond 6.2 Mhz of spectrum, the price varies form between Rs 22.89 crore (Rs 228.9 million) per Mhz in Jammu and Kashmir to a maximum of Rs 431.95 crore (Rs 4.319 billion) in Andhra Pradesh.

The revised prices recommended by Trai are effective from April 1, 2010, the report said.

Meanwhile, industrialist Anil Ambani also met Oil Minister S Jaipal Reddy on Wednesday, seeking natural gas allocation for his group's upcoming power projects.

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Image: Oil Minister S Jaipal Reddy.
Photographs: Reuters
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"He (Anil Ambani) is interested in power projects. He met me in that connection," Reddy told reporters after an hour-long meeting with Ambani.

Reddy said the ADAG chairman sought natural gas for a power project, but refused to give details. "We discussed in generalised terms," he said, adding that gas allocation was done by an Empowered Group of Ministers and Anil Ambani's suggestion and request will be considered by that group.

Earlier, DB Realty's promoter Shahid Usman Balwa was arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation on Tuesday for his alleged role in the 2G scam after a day long interrogation.

He was produced in court on Wednesday and the CBI was allowed two days transit remand of Swan Telecom promoter Shahid Usman Balwa by a Mumbai court to take him to Delhi and confront him with former Telecom Minister A Raja, who is also in the agency's custody in connection with the 2G spectrum case.

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Image: (Inset) DB Realty's promoter Shahid Usman Balwa.
Photographs: Reuters
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Anil Ambani stocks plummet; 2G probe widens

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Balwa, who was arrested on Tuesday evening from his Bandra residence in Mumbai, was produced before Special CBI Judge S C Chandak who allowed the agency two days of transit remand for his production before a Delhi court.

Arguing in the court, Balwa's counsel contended that the company of his client was being singled out and was being made "scapegoat" despite some more firms being involved in the case.

Countering the argument, the CBI counsel said that Balwa sold the license to Etisalat, a UAE based company, allegedly for Rs 4,200 crore while he had got it for Rs 1,537 crore.

After the hearing the two sides, the judge said that since the CBI has Raja in its custody, it may need to confront the former minister and Balwa as the accused may have divulged something during his interrogation.

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Photographs: Reuters
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Balwa's arrest came two days ahead of the Supreme Court hearing the ongoing 2G spectrum case.

Sources claimed that the CBI had some evidence through Income Tax department that Balwa, a known close aide of Raja, was instrumental in channelling alleged kickbacks received by the former telecom minister in the sale of 2G spectrum.

According to the sources, Balwa had allegedly helped the minister and some of his close confidantes for parking the money in the real estate sector.


Photographs: Reuters
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