India May Probe Roles of Ambani, Tata in 2G Phone Case

Indian investigators probing a 2008 sale of phone licenses may explore the role of Tata Group Chairman Ratan Tata and billionaire Anil Ambani, a lawyer for the federal police said.

The Central Bureau of Investigation, which last month submitted charges in the case to a special court, hasn’t yet completed its probe and could still seek more information from the two businessmen, K.K. Venugopal, a counsel for the investigator, told the Supreme Court in New Delhi today. A petitioner asked the court to look into their involvement today.

Ambani, chairman of India’s second-largest mobile-phone operator Reliance Communications Ltd. (RCOM), and Tata last month appeared before an Indian parliamentary panel investigating the sale. Neither were named in the Central Bureau of Investigation’s charges.

Gaurav Wahi, a spokesman for Reliance Communications, didn’t respond to an e-mail seeking comment. “We are not aware of any such statement,” said an e-mail from Tata Sons Ltd., the group’s holding company.

The investigators are probing a sale of spectrum at what the government’s auditor described as “unbelievably low” prices, depriving the treasury of as much as 1.4 trillion rupees ($31 billion) in revenue.

Former telecommunications minister Andimuthu Raja, two ministry officials and half a dozen company executives are on trial in New Delhi after the CBI found they had “entered into a conspiracy” to award phone permits to ineligible companies.

Reliance Communications fell 5.6 percent, the most since Feb. 18, to 89.05 rupees at the 3:30 p.m. close in Mumbai. The shares have lost 39 percent this year, compared with an 11 percent fall in the Bombay Stock Exchange’s benchmark Sensitive Index.

To contact the reporter on this story: P.S. Patnaik in New Delhi at ppatnaik2@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Young-Sam Cho at ycho2@bloomberg.net

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