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2G: Ambani resiles from statement, denies knowing Swan Tel

Last updated on: August 22, 2013 19:40 IST

Anil Ambani appears in court as CBI witness in 2G case

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Appearing before a Special Court hearing the 2G scam, industrialist Anil Ambani on Thursday deposed as a prosecution witness but CBI began cross-examining its own witness after he "resiled" from a statement made during the probe.

The CBI, which had presented Anil Ambani, Chairman of Reliance ADAG, as a witness to buttress its case switched strategy and cross-examined him when he said he had not handed over any note to the CBI in February, 2011 during the probe.

At this stage, Special Public Prosecutor U U Lalit submitted that Ambani was "resiling" from his previous statement and pleaded that he may be allowed to cross-examine him.

"Heard and allowed," said Special CBI Judge O P Saini, allowing CBI's plea. Ambani's company Reliance Telecom Ltd and three of his group executives are accused in the case.

Lalit's plea came when the 54-year-old corporate baron recalled that he had visited CBI in February, 2011 but did not hand over any note to the CBI officer.

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Image: Anil Ambani (R), Chairman of Reliance Communications, talks to a lawyer outside Supreme Court.
Photographs: Reuters

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Anil Ambani appears in court as CBI witness in 2G case

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When the court asked him if he was under any "threat, pressure or coercion today from any quarter", he said "I am not under any threat, pressure or coercion."

"Yes sir, I am making my statement voluntarily and as per my own free will," Ambani told the judge when he was asked, whether he was now making his statement voluntarily and as per his own free will.

He replied in the affirmative to a query from the judge that he knew the consequences of giving a false statement and that he could be prosecuted and punished under the law.

Ambani's four-hour long deposition with a lunch break saw him denying that Swan Telecom  was a front company of his group RADAG for securing the precious radiowaves. Tomorrow, his wife Tina will also appear as prosecution witness.

Ambani, who was summoned to the CBI headquarters here in 2011 in connection with the probe, said he did not know whether any statement of his was recorded by the agency.

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Image: Anil Ambani, Chairman of Reliance Communications, outside Supreme Court.
Photographs: Adnan Abidi/Reuters

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Anil Ambani appears in court as CBI witness in 2G case

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"I do not recall" was his stock reply to most of the questions put up by the prosecution. He said it was not in his knowledge that Swan Telecom Pvt Ltd (STPL) had applied for unified access service licences (UASL) in 2007.

"Sir, you are forgetting too much. Try to recollect something," the judge told Ambani. At another point, the judge observed "This is an advice to you. It can go against you also that you don't know even the names of your companies. So be careful."

Further he did not "recall" if Reliance Telecom Ltd (RTL), an accused firm, had made an investment in STPL, also facing trial in the case along with its promoters Shahid Usman Balwa and Vinod Goenka.

"It is wrong to suggest that STPL was a shelf company of my group. It is wrong to suggest that it was in my knowledge that STPL had applied for UAS Licence for J&K service area in 2007. I cannot recall if RTL had made an investment to the extent of 9.9 per cent in equity shares in STPL," Ambani told the court.


Image: Anil Ambani, Chairman of Reliance Communications, enters his car outside Supreme Court.
Photographs: Adnan Abidi/Reuters

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