Indian telecom companies charged in spectrum deal

The charges relate to spectrum allocations to the mobile operators in 2002

Bharti Airtel and the Indian venture of Vodafone Group were charged Friday by India's top investigation agency for the alleged irregular allocation of mobile spectrum in 2002.

The charges against the two largest mobile operators in the country by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) continues India's investigation into alleged corruption in the allotment of government-owned spectrum to the country's telecom sector.

A. Raja, the country's telecom minister up to November, 2010, and some executives were charged and arrested in 2011 for allegedly improper allocations of 2G licenses and spectrum at basement prices in 2008. The allotment of 122 mobile licenses across 22 service areas in 2008 was struck down in February this year by India's Supreme Court, affecting the Indian joint ventures of multinational companies like Telenor, Etisalat, and Sistema. The spectrum was auctioned again in November.

Irregular allocations to some Indian operators of 2G licenses and spectrum in 2008 may have cost the country about US$39 billion, according to a report by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) that was presented to Parliament in November, 2010.

The Supreme Court had advised the CBI, which was investigating charges against Raja, to also investigate mobile spectrum and license allocations dating back to 2001 when a different coalition, the National Democratic Alliance, was in power.

Bharti Airtel said it did not have a comment on the CBI action. Vodafone did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Vodafone was not an investor in the Indian joint venture in 2002. Its first investment in the joint venture Vodafone Essar was in 2007, when it acquired, both directly and indirectly through India partners, a 67 percent stake from Hutchison Telecommunications. It subsequently bought out Indian partner Essar Group.

John Ribeiro covers outsourcing and general technology breaking news from India for The IDG News Service. Follow John on Twitter at @Johnribeiro. John's e-mail address is john_ribeiro@idg.com

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags regulationlegaltelecommunicationCarriersVodafone GroupCriminalBharti Airtel

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

John Ribeiro

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Cate Bacon

Aruba Instant On AP11D

The strength of the Aruba Instant On AP11D is that the design and feature set support the modern, flexible, and mobile way of working.

Dr Prabigya Shiwakoti

Aruba Instant On AP11D

Aruba backs the AP11D up with a two-year warranty and 24/7 phone support.

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?