Dawood Ibrahim Kaskar, is the head of the organized crime and terror syndicate D-Company in Mumbai. Dawood’s D- Company has been identified as a criminal terrorism syndicate by the US Congress.
Dawood is currently on the wanted list of Interpol for organised crime and counterfeiting, besides association with Al- Qaeda as identified in UN Security Council resolutions 1822 (2008) and 1267 (1999).He was No. 4 on the Forbes 2008 list of The World’s 10 Most Wanted criminals, and no. 50 on the Forbes 2009 list of The World’s Most Powerful People.
He is said to have begun his real criminal career in Mumbai working for the Karim Lala gang (which later became his own gang’s rival) exploiting the rapid expansion in the Bombay (now Mumbai) textiles industry to his advantage, though another version says that he began his criminal career working as a career for smuggler Haji Mastan.
In either case, he eventually split from both of them and started his own gang, D- Company. He soon moved his residence to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) where he has business interests along side India. He established chains of businesses in partnership with local Sheikhs. He rubbed shoulders with kings and princes of the Gulf emirates and acquired more power, which at later stages saved him from being extradited to India.
Dawood leapfrogged into big time once he came into contact with the Pakistan Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) wing. The twoshared a couple of interests.The ISI wanted a person whofelt strongly for his community.In other words, someone whocould foment communal trouble whenever the need arose.Two, Pakistan’s territorial waters were a haven for gold smugglers. Dawood wantedhis piece of action in that territory and an understanding was therefore reached. The ISI allegedly helped Dawood to flourish. The gold runner became a mafia don and his gang came to be known as D-company in Mumbai. His net worth is said to be in billions and his ‘business interests’ are spread in Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Dubai, Germany, France, the UK and several Muslim countries in Africa.
Ibrahim is widely believed to have masterminded the 1993 Bombay Bombings, a series of terrorist attacks carried out in the city on March 12 of the year. In 2003, the Indian and United States governments declared Ibrahim a “Global Terrorist”. The then Deputy Prime Minister, described it as a major development and that India stands “vindicated”. Ibrahim is currently on India’s “Most wanted List”.
The United States Department of Treasury has also designated Ibrahim as a terrorist as part of its international sanctions program effectively forbidding U.S. financial entities from working with him and seizing assets believed to be under his control. The Department of Treasury keeps a fact sheet on Ibrahim which contains reports of his syndicate having smuggling routes from South Asia, the Middle East and Africa shared with and used by terrorist organisation al-Qaeda. The fact sheet also said that Ibrahim’s syndicate is involved in large scale shipment of narcotics in the United Kingdom and Western Europe. He is also believed to have contacts with al-Qaeda leader Osama bin-Laden. In the late 1990s, Ibrahim traveled in Afghanistan under the Taliban’s protection. The syndicate has consistently aimed to destabilize the Indian government through riots, terrorism and civil disobedience.
Washington added that they will request the United Nations to list Ibrahim “in pursuance of relevant Security Council resolutions”. The UN listing will require that all UN member states freeze Ibrahim’s assets and impose a travel ban. Juan Zarate, the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Terrorist Financing and Financial Crimes, said that they are committed to identifying and attacking financial ties between terrorism and the underworld. Ibrahim is also suspected to have connections with terrorist organisations, and in 2002 was linked to the financing of increasing attacks in Gujarat by Lashkar-e-Toiba. New Delhi handed over to Islamabad a list of 38 most wanted criminals, including Ibrahim.
In a major blow to Ibrahim, ten members of his gang were arrested by Mumbai Crime Branch on November 21, 2006. They were extradited from the United Arab Emirates, from where they had been deported. Sources reported in India Today indicate that Dawood Ibrahim provided the logistics for the November 2008 Mumbai attacks.
United States Deportation Resistance, In January 2002, a month after the Parliament attack, Indian officials visited the US, where they had meetings with ColinPowell and Condoleezza Rice. A list of the Top 20 most-wanted terrorists in Pakistan was handed to the US. Ibrahim was wanted in connection with the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts. Ajmal Amir Kasab, a gunman arrested for participation in the November 2008 Mumbai attacks that killed 173(164 civilians and security personnel and9 terrorists), has confessed to authorities according to reports that Ibrahim’s organization provided arms and explosivesto the Lashkar-e-Toiba group that wereused to carry out the attacks.
Pakistan denies any knowledge of his existence. Indian intelligence agencies,such as Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW), believe that some of his addresses include House No. 37, 30th street, DHA, Karachi and White House, Near Saudi Mosque, Clifton, Karachi, Pakistan, and is provided protection by Pakistani intelligence agency, the Inter Services Intelligence (ISI). The issue of extradition of Dawood Ibrahim is one of the major hurdles in the frosty relations between India and Pakistan. Despite hectic efforts during the past many years, the government has failed to bring him back. The mere existence of Dawood proved a point that India is a soft state hence targeted repeatedly by terrorists across the borders. Indian security agencies may have achieved some success in apprehending a few terrorists planning attacks in Mumbai recently, but investigators say the arrests are just a tip of the iceberg.
”The ISI has brought together underworld don Dawood Ibrahim, Tiger Memon, and elements of the LeT, Jaish-e- Mohammad and Indian Mujahideen operatives such as Amir Reza Khan to create terror and mayhem throughout the country,” an investigator said. The officer added the information was gleaned from inputs from central intelligence agencies and also through those involved in planning the terror attacks.
”Abdul Latif, who has been arrested, is a relative of Bashir Khan. The latter was involved in planting explosives in the first serial blasts in Mumbai in 1993. Since the 1993 bomb blasts had a bigger involvement of Tiger than Dawood, we believe Tiger has once again been roped in to create terror,” the officer said.
Life isn’t trigger happy for Dawood Ibrahim any more. Once comfortably ensconced in Karachi, and enjoying the hospitality of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), his enemies are now ensuring he doesn’t have a settled existence. Following the ISI’s interception of a ‘Get Bhai Plan’ by his RAW-sponsored enemies to sneak into the port city and target him, the underworld don has been made to relocate his family to Islamabad where he now lives in a high security zone under the ISI’s covert protection. The ‘Get Bhai Plan’ was masterminded by Indian intelligence in collaboration with Dawood’s main business rival and former right hand man, Rajender Sadashiv Nikhalje alias Chhota Rajan.
His inclusion in the list came as an embarrassment to Islamabad, especially as the US department in its reasons for doing so cited intelligence reports of his connection with global outlaws Al Qaeda and Lashkar-e-Toiba. The department’s fact sheet on Dawood stated: “Dawood Ibrahim, son of a police constable, has financially supported Islamic militant groups working against India such as the Lashkar-e-Toiba. Information as recent as fall 2002 indicates that Ibrahim had been helping finance terrorist attacks in the Indian state of Gujarat by Lashkar-e-Toiba, the armed wing of Markaz Dawa Wal Irshad.
But the Bhai under protective umbrella of ISI is going strong, he is extensively used by ISI to plan all major nefarious operations in India. India is agrowing economy with massive global attention and business interest hence the divisive forces will be proactive to derail thegrowth story. It is note worthy to mention that the nexus of ISI and D Company is patronized by all anti India forces indirectly toensure that India remains a hot spot of terror activities to limit its growing stature at the global forum. India is presently servedby the most efficient Home Minister in recent times. Mr P Chidambaram is managing the internal security with extreme clinical output though the Naxal front is looking quite gloomy. Indian naxal problem is related to the comprehensive systemic failure rather than the administrative failure but certainly India has witnessed better coordination between intel agencies and police network in the past few months. A nation of billion inhabitants are looking at the present security apparatus to bring and book India’s most wanted criminal, surely the time lost in the process will deplete already receding hope of many countrymen in the efficiency and credibility of our national approach towards terrorism.
(With inputs from Air Marshal R C Bajpai, Mr Ashoka Kumar Thakur – Senior Advocate, Supreme Court of India, Prakhar Misra – Political Editor, Veelaas Kengale – Mumbai)
The US Congressional Research Service has is- sued a solid report on the nexus between criminal syndicates and terrorist groups.Entitled “International Terrorismand Transnational Crime:Security Threats, U.S. Policy, and Considerations for Congress,” there port has a section devoted to Dawood Ibrahim, the criminal don of South Asia. The report acknowledges that Dawood is aligned with al Qaeda, the Lashkar-e-Taiba, and Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence agency.
Dawood Ibrahim’s D-Company Over time, a purely criminal group may transform, adopting political goals and new operational objectives. These organizations can form alliances with existing terrorist organizations or foreign governments to help achieve their strategic aspirations. Or they can initiate,direct, and perpetrate terrorist attacks without external assistance,resulting in the group becomin glabeled a terrorist organization.Criminal syndicates often already possess the operational expertise needed to engage in terroristacts. They may already employ terrorist specialists to conduct surveillance, transfer money, purchase weapons, build bombs, and eliminaterivals. A criminal organization can easily transfer this apparatus toward politically motivated ends. The result is either a truly evolved criminal turned terrorist group or a “fused” criminal terrorist organization that seeks to develop ties with like minded ideological movements. The use of criminal skills for terrorist ends raises the concern among some experts that terrorists may seek out criminals for recruitment or radicalization, believing them to be a higher skilled partner than non criminals. A criminal’s participation in terrorist activity, however, brings greater scrutiny from law enforcemen tagencies and politicians. Furthermore, a concentration on terrorist attacks could divert resources away from criminal endeavors, producing disillusionment and desertion among members who join edstrictly for monetary reasons.
Dawood Ibrahim’s D-Company, a5,000 member criminal syndicate operating mostly in Pakistan, India, and the United Arab Emirates, provides an example of the criminal terrorism “fusion” model. The U.S. Department of Treasury designated Ibrahim as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT) under Executive Order 13224 in October 2003. In June 2006, President George W. Bush designated him, as well as his D-Company organization, as a Significant Foreign Narcotics Trafficker under the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act (hereafter “Kingpin Act”).D-Company is reportedly involved in several criminal activities, including extortion, smuggling, narcotics trafficking, and contract killing. The organization has also reportedly infiltrated the Indian film making industry, extorting producers, assassinating directors, distributing movies, and pirating films.
Ibrahim began as a criminal specialist in Mumbai , India, first as a low-level smuggler in the 1970s and later as the leader of a poly-crime syndicate. He formed a thriving criminal enterprise throughout the 1980s and became radicalized in the 1990s, forging relationships with Islamists, including Lashkar-e-Tayyiba and Al Qaeda. D- Company’s evolution into a true criminal- terrorist group began in response to the destruction of the Babri Mosque in Uttar Pradesh, India, in December 1992, and the subsequent riots that killed hundreds of Muslims. Outraged by the attacks on fellow Muslims and believing the Indian government acted indifferently to their plight, Ibrahim decided to retaliate. A heretofore secular organization with a sizable Hindu membership now assumed the objective of protecting India’s Muslim minority. Reportedly with assistance from the Pakistan government’s intelligence branch, the Inter Services Intelligence agency (ISI), D-Company launched a series of bombing attacks on March 12, 1993, killing 257 people. Following the attacks, Ibrahim moved his organization’s headquarters to Karachi, Pakistan.
There, D-Company is believed to have both deepened its strategic alliance with the ISI and developed links to Lashkar- e-Tayyiba (LeT), which was designated by the United States as a foreign terrorist organization (FTO) in2001. During this time period, some say D-Company began to finance LeT’s activities,use its companies to lure recruits to LeTtraining camps, and give LeT operatives useof its smuggling routes and contacts.66Press accounts have reported thatIbrahim’s network might have provided aboat to the 10 terrorists who killed 173 peo-ple in Mumbai in November 2008. The U.S.government contends that D-Company hasfound common cause with Al Qaeda andshares its smuggling routes with that ter-rorist group. The United Nations has addedIbrahim to its list of individuals associatedwith Al Qaeda.
D-Company’s seeming transformationfrom a profit-motivated criminal syndicatedto a fusion crime-terror organization also al-tered its composition. Many of the Hindumembers left the group after the 1993bombings, with some forming a competinggang. While the organization reportedly col-laborates with LeT and Al Qaeda, the more secular orientation of D-Company’s leadership makes it unlikely that it will formally merge with those terrorist groups, analysts believe. Regardless, D-Company’s own terrorist endeavors, its deep pockets, and its reported cooperation with LeT and Al Qaeda, present a credible a threat to U.S. interests in South Asia, security experts assess. Lending his criminal expertise and net- works to such terrorist groups, he is capable of smuggling ter- rorists across national borders, trafficking in weapons and drugs, controlling extortion and protec- tion rackets, and laundering ill-gotten proceeds, including through the abuse of traditional value transfer methods, like hawala. By providing those organizations with funding, contacts, and logistical sup- port, it amplifies their capabilities and durability.
Dawood Ibrahim’s gang merger withthe Lashkar-e-Toiba: Two IslamicTerrorist Organizations come together forJihad against India – ISI reach will expandwith D-Company merger’. The merger ofDawood Ibrahim’s gang with theLashkar-e-Toiba at the behest ofPakistan’s Inter Services Intelligence(ISI) has Indian security agencies worriedsince the underworld gang will expandthe ISI’s reach in the country. “Manymembers of Dawood’s gang have beenindoctrinated and trained in the use ofweapons in the Bahawalpur centre of theLeT near Lahore. Funds are being raisedby investments in real estate and SRA projects in Mumbai and through smuggling of diesel and other essential commodities through the western coast spanning from Raigad to Mangalore along the Arabian Sea. We have warned Delhi about the smug- gling being carried out by the Dawood gang with impunity,” a security official said.
Asked why the ISI had roped in the D- Company in LeT activities, the official said, “The underworld’s penetration in Maharashtra, Gujarat, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and parts of Kerala and Tamil Nadu is very deep. By synergizing the D- gang with the LeT, the ISI’s reach has increased manifold. An out fit like the Students’ Islamic Movement of India could not have provided the kind of reach which Dawood’s gang can provide.”
Government sources brushed aside the hope in certain quarters that the installation of a democratically elected government in Pakistan would result in a decrease in LeT inspired violence since the ISI, which is heavily infiltrated by fundamentalist elements, is known to pursue its own agenda. D Company’ is now officially part of the Lashkar-e-Toiba’s terror network, with Pakistan’s notorious Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) getting Dawood Ibrahim to merge his gang with the fundamentalist terror organisation as part of a game-plan to crank up its anti India campaign.
Sources in Indian agencies tracking ISI’s moves confirmed the coming together of the two outfits and the danger that it poses to India. “The underworld gang and the Lashkar jihadis have been knocked into a single entity and this has serious implications for India’s internal security,” a senior intelligence official. ISI’s links with D-Company are old, going back to 1993 when Pakistan’s external intelligence agency used Dawood and his henchmen to execute the March 12 terror attack on Mumbai in what marked the first instance anywhere of serial bombings. There has since been a shift in the dynamics of ISI-Dawood equations, reducing D-Company from being a useful ally to a group of individuals dependent on ISI to escape international law agencies.
Following the Mumbai blasts, Dawood along with his accomplices Chhota Shakeel and Tiger Memon fled to Pakistan. Pakistan has since shielded them from India and the new anti-terrorism sensitivities post-9/11 which saw Dawood being branded a global terrorist by the US. But the hospitality has a tag attached to it: complete dependence for survival on ISI, which does not mind displaying its leverage visa-vis the once ruthless gang. The merger will, inevitably, transform the character of Dawood’s gang, which did not display any communal tendency before the serial bombings aimed against members of a particular community.
In fact, many of their business partners were non-Muslims like Raj Shetty. Chhota Rajan was also a senior member of the gang before splitting in protest against the serial blasts triggered by Dawood, Shakeel and the Memons. “The serial blasts were essentially a retaliation for the January 1993 communal riots. But now there is a qualitative change with D-Company becoming part of a jihadi organisation like the LeT. Earlier, this gang’s members were not religiously indoctrinated, but now they are. The motivation now is not money, but religion,” a senior official said.
The joining of ranks with Lashkar, one of the most dangerous terrorist outfits which treats “liberation” of large tracts of India from “Hindu domination” as its religious obligation, can help ISI to further its subversive agenda. Stints with Lashkar camps can morph Dawood’s band of urban gangsters into well-armed and jihad-driven terrorists. On the other hand, Lashkar benefits immensely from collaboration with D-Company which continues to attract recruits and has acquired financial muscle by venturing into mainstream commercial enterprises without letting go of its original money spinner, smuggling.
— OEMCL New Services with inputs from our Dubai Bureau
2G scam has reached phase II, with the Supreme Court ordering DMK heiress and Member of Parliament Kanimozhi’s arrest in the 2G spectrum scam, the burning question now is: What next? Will corporate chieftains Anil Ambani, Prashant Ruia and Ratan Tata be prosecuted too?
The answer to this million-dollar question may lie behind certain recent developments. Shahid Usman Balwa, Swan Telecom promoter and an accused in the 2G scam case, on May 18 took objection to the Central Bureau of Investigation naming Ratan Tata as a ‘victim’ in the scam thus granting him the benefit of the doubt. Balwa alleged before the trial court that the Tata Group chairman was one of the biggest beneficiaries in the allocation of radio waves and came forward with many arguments and produced correspondence between Tata and the prime accused and former telecom minister A Raja in support of this claim. This is a very interesting development, according to legal eagles handling the case on be half of the various accused in the case.
Already, last month in the Supreme Court, petitioner Prashant Bhushan pre- sented a note on the direct involvement of Reliance Communications chairman Anil Ambani, Tata Teleservices chairman Ratan Tata, and Loop Telecom chief Prashant Ruia. If the other accused too, like Balwa, start pressing for Ambani, Tata and Ruia’s prosecution, the buck will have to stop somewhere and some- one will have to answer why they should not be prosecuted and arrested, says a senior lawyer appearing for the arrested accused in the 2G scam.
It is when lawyer Prashant Bhushan and politician Subramanyam Swamy took the case vigorously in the apex court and into the media, things moved. There is no doubt that the rejection of Kanimozhi’s bail application was one of the great newsy moments that rarely comes. In fact, Swamy is confident that both Anil Ambani & Ratan Tata will be prosecuted very soon for the serious crime.
In rarest of rare cases we see, in this corruption-ridden country, a powerful person’s daughter going to Tihar jail. Moreover, the charge is also so fantastic that the millions of middle-class people can never fathom it, properly. Most Indians believe that powerful people are not fined even for traffic violations so Kanimozi’s imprisonment is a phenomenon. One is gasping for words to describe that the person who is able to take Rs 200 crore bribe can, really became so powerless that nothing could help her to avoid going jail. That’s the might of the law.
If after detection of the 2G spectrum case, the system is not changed to ensure that public property is not looted in favour of a selected few then what’s the use of this tamasha of a powerful politician’s daughter going to jail? And, equally importantly, if the charges of corruption against Raja and Kanimozhi are not proved in the court of law then this moment will end up in a national tragedy. Many lawyers are privately saying that it’s possible that this case may face the fate of the the Jain Hawala case, in which the prime accused was not convicted.
As of today, the CBI is not totally independent. Until the Jan Lokpal bill comes and prepares the case for a totally independent CBI, the 2G spectrum case will remain in realm of danger of going the Jain Hawala way. At the end of day, let us accept that it’s too early to say that, in the India of 2011, the system can humble the rich and powerful. Bhushan argued before the court that the expert panel is required to nail the real bigwigs involved in the case.
Explaining why Anil Ambani should be prosecuted by the CBI, Bhushan’s note to the Supreme Court pleads that ‘the CBI has filed two charge sheets in the 2G scam case. The first charge sheet established the criminal culpability of Reliance Communications and Swan Telecom. The said charge sheet states that the accused, former telecom minister A Raja,entered into criminal conspiracy with the accused Shahid Balwa and Vinod Goenka (of D B Realty) for favouring Swan Telecom.’
Bhushan argued further before the two judge bench that the CBI chargesheet ‘also states that the accused Gautam Doshi, Surendra Pipara and Hari Nair (who are all employees of the Anil Ambani controlled Reliance and now arrested) in furtherance of their intention to cheat, created Swan Telecom out of funds arranged from Reliance Communications for applying for licenses in 13 circles where Reliance Communications did not have GSM spectrum.’ ‘The CBI has contented that Swan Telecom was held by Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group companies through the funds raised by Anil Ambani- controlled businesses,’ Bhushan’s note says.
‘The CBI, in its first chargesheet of April 2, 2011, details the complex web of structuring that was done by the said Reliance employees to hide the fact that Swan was fully a RAGAG company. These people (arrested and jailed officers) are just the professional employees of the ADAG, and are not the beneficiaries of this scam. The real beneficiary is Anil Ambani, who holds a majority stake and is chairman of the group. The CBI has tried to shield him and has only charge sheeted the employees,’ argues Bhushan.
Giving more ‘details’ of Ambani’s alleged culpability in the scam, Bhushan wrote to the Supreme Court: ‘At the time of application for UAS licence, Swan had about 9.9 per cent equity in Swan, while the remaining 90.1 per cent equity was held by Tiger Traders Pvt Ltd, in which the above stated three persons (employees of R-ADAG) were the directors, fronting for Reliance ADAG. The entire money was provided by RADAG.’
The CBI has stated, ‘Investigation regarding M/s Tiger Traders Pvt Ltd has also disclosed that the source of funds to raise equity and also to subscribe to shares of other companies has also come from group companies of Reliance-ADAG. Further, the source of funds, i.e., Rs 3 crore (Rs 30 million) during January 2007 and Rs 95.51 crore (Rs 955.1 million) during March 2007, utilised by TTPL to subscribe to majority shares of M/s Swan Telecom Pvt Ltd, has been arranged through the group companies of Reliance ADAG. Moreover, a sum of Rs 992 crore (Rs 9.92 billion), which constituted bulk of the net worth of Swan Telecom, was also paid by Reliance….’
However, the CBI has wrongly stated that Gautam Doshi (arrested and jailed) took all the commercial decisions, insists Bhushan to the Supreme Court. In fact, the CBI is currently investigating the sequence of events and chronology of cash payments done by Reliance. The CBI believes that, ‘Amitabh Jhunjhunwala, who is the chief executive officer of Reliance Capital Limited and also group managing director at Reliance Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group, would have more knowledge (about the goings on) than the three officers who have been arrested and are now in Tihar jail.’
Arguing further his case against Anil Ambani, Bhushan says, ‘A senior official of the ICICI Bank has stated to the CBI that only Anil Ambani or his wife Tina Ambani were authorised to make payments of Rs 10 crore (Rs 100 million) and above. There is no possibility of an employee of the company having taken such an important decision of massive investments running into hundreds of crore of rupees. Therefore, the payment made of over Rs 100 crore (Rs 10 billion) from Reliance account on October 19, 2007 to Swan (the same day Reliance got the dual- tech license), could not have been made without the concurrence of Ambani.’
‘Moreover, the benefit of dual technology spectrum was accrued to Ambani, as the majority shareholder, whereas the employees had no financial benefit at all. In the second charge sheet the CBI has established the money trail that establishes serious offences of bribery, corruption, fraud, cheating and conspiracy. ‘
It is only the dominant shareholder of the ADAG that stood to benefit the most. Most important, it was not possible for an employee to divert Rs 990 crore (Rs 9.90 billion) of public listed company Reliance Communications through its subsidiary Reliance Tele to Swan Telecom and subscribe to Re 1 preference shares bearing 8 per cent interest at a premium of Rs 999.’
‘It had to be done by the board and the executive director, the chief executive officer and the majority shareholder. Naming three employees of Reliance-ADAG as the accused without naming Anil Ambani is a serious and deliberate omission,’ he alleged.
‘The transfer of Swan Telecom could not have taken place without the consent of Ambani who had the foreknowledge that his application for dual technology would be granted. If the dominant shareholder, who is also the CEO, is allowed to escape accountability, then it will seta new benchmark to evade corporate criminality,’ argued Bhushan.
Bhushan, while talking about Ratan Tata’s culpability the in 2G scam, told the Supreme Court that ‘the CBI in its first charge sheet goes on for several pages as to how Tata Teleservices is a victim in the entire 2G spectrumscam. As per the CBI,since Tata was an existing operator, it had preference over all new applicants,and therefore since it was not given licence before applicants like Swan, it was a victim.’
‘The CBI disregards that DoT was following a procedure of FCFS (first come first served) and an application of Tata for the same GSM spectrum came in at the end, on 19/22.10.2007, i.e., after 575 applications were pending, and three weeks after the original cut-off date of 01.10.2007.’
‘The CBI disregards that as per policy, new operators were encouraged to increase competition and were assured a level playing field. Hence, there is no question of the existence of any policy that states that an existing operator would be given preference. In fact, the policy stated to being followed was of FCFS. On 10.01.2008, Tatas got GSM spectrum in 20 circles and were a major beneficiary of the policies followed by accused A Raja.’
Bhushan tells the court that ‘the CBI ignores the clear evidence of quid pro quo between Tata and A Raja’s party the DMK. The above has to be considered along with the conversation Niira Radia (Tata’s lobbyist) had with Rajathiammal (wife of former chief minister of Tamil Nadu M Karunanidhi) where in the name of the Tatas is clearly mentioned.’
‘The transcript of the said conversation is already on record as A1 of the additional affidavit. It has also come in the public domain as to how a big land in Chennai worth Rs 500 crore (Rs 5 billion) was given by Tatas to the family of the (former) Tamil Nadu chief minister. A letter written by Tata Group chairman Ratan Tata to then Tamil Nadu chief minister Karunanidhi has also come into the public domain wherein he praised the spectrum allocation policies of former telecom minister A Raja.
Bhushan argues that it ‘shows that the Tatas were one of the biggest beneficiaries of the actions of Mr Raja during his stint as telecom minister. The above has to be seen with the fact that Niira Radia lobbied heavily to ensure the return of the accused Raja as telecom minister and in one of the conversations she clearly states that her client Tatas were a beneficiary of the tenure of accused Raja.’
Bhushan has also alleged in his note to the judges that ‘the petitioners have now learnt that the CBI is sitting over a crucial lead wherein telecom companies who got 2G licences made payments to a Tamil cultural NGO of which Kanimozhi (accused) is a director. The said NGO received payments from telecom companies including Tata just before the licences were awarded on 10.01.2008.
‘Arguing the case against Prashant Ruia’s involvement in the 2G scam Bhushan said, ‘Petitioners have learnt that while the CBI might be following the case of Loop Telecom which made huge benefits, the investigation has gone cold over the involvement of Prashant Ruia andhis family members whothrough a complex web of transactions setup LoopTelecom to defraud and cheat the government for the award of 2G spectrum and licences.
‘Prashant Ruia is the CEO of Essar Group Ltd.The group is part of theVo d a f o n e – E s s a r – H u t c h Telecom service provider.Bhushan told the court that’the telecom watch dog, one of the petitioners here in, had made a detailed complaint as to how Ruia is the real face of Loop. Now the Enforcement Directorate and the Reserve Bank of India have already confirmed this,’ said Bhushan.
The CBI officers who want to go by the rule book argue: ‘Who can do business of more than Rs 200 crore (Rs 2 billion) in a matter of two-three days without directions from the highest level? We know these so-called living legends of the corporate world are neck-deep in the issue. As of today the 2G spectrum case is handled by many agencies and institutions. We hope the Income-Tax Department, the Enforcement Directorate, the Supreme Court, the lower court, the Joint Parliamentary Committee or our own agency, at the highest level and at an appropriate time, will debate threadbare the issue of Anil Ambani and Ratan Tata’s actual involvement in the 2G scam.’
CAG is sticking to its guns that country has suffered a loss of Rs 1,76,000 crore revenue in its testimony before JPC hence the problems for India’s best known business leaders are just about to start. The outcome of the 2G scam can be a bench mark for governance pattern in India, and fair trail leading to punishment to guilty people will boost the confidence of common person on the rule of law.
-J GOPIKRSHNAN for Opinion Express