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    2G scam: CBI probes share transfer trail to identify beneficiaries

    Synopsis

    The CBI has been trying to uncover the Reliance Telecom-Swan-Delphi share transfer trail as part of its larger exercise to zero in on the beneficiaries of the 2G spectrum allocation scam.

    NEW DELHI: A CBI team will go to Switzerland later this month to find the identity of the real beneficiaries of investments worth $4 million in BTS Belvoir, a Swiss firm chosen as the parking lot for the 9.9% stake offloaded from Delphi.

    Delphi, the Mauritius-based fully owned subsidiary of Mavi Investment Fund, was itself the recipient of Reliance Telecom's 9.9% stake in Swan Telecom in 2007. The CBI has been trying to uncover the Reliance Telecom-Swan-Delphi share transfer trail as part of its larger exercise to zero in on the beneficiaries of the 2G spectrum allocation scam. A Reliance ADAG spokesperson, when contacted, refused to comment on the issue.

    The CBI, which had sent a team to Mauritius earlier this year in an attempt to find out the identity of the real owners of Delphi Investment, discovered that the share transfer trail did not end at the island nation. Information received from the Mauritian authorities indicated that Reliance Telecom's stake in Delphi was subsequently diverted to BTS Belvoir, an investment company located in Switzerland.

    An amount of $4 million was parked in Belvoir. The CBI believes that the real value of these shares was much more, at least $76 million. The 9.9% stake was later reduced to 5%, after Etisalaat bought a major chunk of shares in Swan Telecom.

    The CBI has sent a Letter Rogatory to Switzerland in September this year, seeking the help of the authorities there in unearthing the money trail. The investigating agency's counsel, senior advocate KK Venugopal had informed the Supreme Court about the move during the hearing on the 2G case on September 30.

    Venugopal had told the bench hearing the case that in the wake of its probe in Mauritius, the agency had taken steps to send a LR as part of the exercise to seek cooperation of the authorities there to unravel the identity of the individuals to whom Delphi had transferred the shares it received from Reliance Telecom. The senior counsel had pointed out that Reliance transferred 1,07,90,000 equity shares in Swan to Delphi in 2007 for Rs 15 per share.

    “The total value of $76 million of the shares sold by Reliance to Delphi was grossly undervalued,'' Venugopal had told the bench. The CBI feels that the ownership of BTS Belvoir Investments itself has changed hands in the interregnum, and fears that the money trail could lead it to British Virgin Islands.

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