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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., 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.

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