CBI charge Bharti Airtel, Vodafone in telecom case
NEW DELHI (Reuters) - The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) filed charges against Bharti Airtel Ltd(BRTI.NS) and Vodafone Group Plc's(VOD.L) India unit on Friday as part of a probe into alleged corruption in the allocation of mobile phone airwaves a decade ago, a lawyer said.
The charges include criminal conspiracy, A.K. Singh, a lawyer for the CBI, told reporters. He said no executives of the companies were charged, but a former telecommunications ministry official was charged.
Shares in Bharti Airtel, India's top mobile phone carrier, extended losses after the charges were filed. The stock was down 2.9 percent at 0931 GMT.
A Bharti spokesman said he had no immediate comment, while a Vodafone India spokesman declined to comment. The companies have previously denied any wrongdoing.
The latest CBI probe concerns alleged irregularities in allotting mobile spectrum in 2002 during the previous government led by the Bharatiya Janata Party, which is now in opposition.
The investigation follows a scandal over airwave allocations in 2008 that rocked the ruling Congress Party-led government after a state auditor said the government may have lost up to $32 billion due to below-market price sales of radio spectrum.
Police have charged 19 people and three companies in that case and their trials are ongoing.
The Supreme Court had asked the CBI to investigate any possible irregularities in the granting of mobile permits from 2001 to 2007. The CBI estimated a potential loss of 8.46 billion Indian rupees in government revenue due to the alleged irregularities in 2002, Singh said.
($1 = 54.8650 rupees)
(Reporting by Suchitra Mohanty, Writing by Devidutta Tripathy; Editing by John Chalmers and Matt Driskill)
- Tweet this
- Share this
- Digg this
- India passes halfway mark in election with BJP gaining strength
- Search for Malaysia Airlines jet refocuses on drone scans of seafloor
- Borno state authorities say most of abducted schoolgirls still missing
- UPDATE 3-Putin talks tough on Ukraine but says he hopes for peace
- Acid attack survivor wins millions on 'Kaun Banega Crorepati'
Wipro posted a 29 percent rise in its fourth-quarter net profit, beating expectations, helped by increased IT spending by its customers. For the quarter ended March 31, the company said it earned 22.27 billion rupees compared with 17.29 billion rupees a year earlier. Full Article | Full Coverage
Ex-Goldman director Rajat Gupta to surrender June 17 in insider case. Full Article