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Show-cause notices to errant firms

Sandeep Joshi

NEW DELHI: Initiating action against the companies that were exposed by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) in its report on the 2G spectrum scam, the Union government on Monday started issuing notices to around a dozen companies for fudging facts to get licences and also for missing deadlines in rolling out mobile services in their territories.

Show-cause notices are being issued in respect of 119 licences. “Of these, 81 fall under both categories — ineligibility to get licences and failing to meet the rollout obligations — while 38 show-causes will be for the latter,” Communications Minister Kapil Sibal said here.

The operators would be given 60 days to respond to the notices, and each case dealt with separately. “After studying their response, a decision will be taken on whether these [licences] need to be cancelled or a penalty be imposed,” he said.

The CAG said that out of 122 licences issued in 2008, 85 went to ineligible companies, while as many as nine real estate firms misrepresented facts to get spectrum. These included Unitech Infrastructure, Unitech Builders and Estates, Azare Properties, Aska Projects, Volga Properties (all belonging to the Unitech Group), Shipping Stop Dotcom Pvt. Ltd. (now Loop Telecom), Allianz Infratech (which merged with Etisalat DB Telecom), Swan Telecom (now Etisalat DB Telecom), Datacom Solutions (now Videocon Telecom) and S Tel.

Referring to the case of Swan Telecom , about which the CAG said the firm acted as a front company for Reliance Telecom, Mr. Sibal said the Ministry of Corporate Affairs would be asked to investigate the issue.

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