South Asia

Anil Ambani questioned over India telecoms 'scam'

Anil Ambani leaves the CBI office in Delhi on 16 Feb 2011
Image caption Anil Ambani's Reliance is the second largest mobile carrier in India

India's federal police have questioned billionaire Anil Ambani in connection with an alleged corruption scandal.

The tycoon controls India's second biggest mobile firm Reliance Telecom.

Mr Ambani met the investigators to clarify ongoing issues in connection with the so-called 2G scandal, his office said in a statement.

The firm denied any role in the alleged scam which has wracked the government and led to the arrest of the former telecommunications minister, A Raja.

Government auditors have accused the minister of underselling phone licences to the tune of nearly $40bn (£25bn).

Investigators have been trying to establish whether anyone received kickbacks from the deals.

Mr Raja and two senior bureaucrats, who were arrested earlier this month, deny the charges.

Mr Ambani's office denied that the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had issued summons to the businessman.

"During the course of his weekly visit to Delhi, Anil Ambani met CBI officials [on Wednesday] to clarify ongoing issues, relating to telecom matters for the years 2001 to 2010."

No Reliance company or affiliate or individual had benefitted from the grant of the 2G licenses, the statement added.

It said the group had not made any financial gain from Swan Telecom's 2G licence win.

In their report, the government auditors had said that Swan Telecom appeared to have been "acting as a front company" on behalf of the Reliance Comm.

The top executive of Swan, Shahid Balwa, was arrested last week.

Swan Telecom has since been renamed Etisalat DB and is about 45% owned by UAE-based Etisalat. Mr Balwa is vice-chairman of Etisalat DB.

The 2G spectrum scandal has damaged the Congress party-led government's reputation.

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