The Corporate Affairs ministry, headed by Murli Deora has tried to play down the ‘clean chit’ that it allegedly gave to the Essar group and Loop Telecom on violating cross-ownership rules in Telecom.
The controversy arose after the Supreme Court directed the CBI not to be influenced by the Ministry’s certifications or deviate from the direction of its investigation in the 2G scam case.
Initially, both the minister of state R.P.N. Singh and the top bureaucrat in the ministry, DK Mittal refused to comment on the issue claiming that commenting on something which is under the Courts’ consideration will be improper.
However, when probed, Mittal said the ministry has removed the misunderstanding between itself and the CBI and there is no longer any confusion about the stand of the Government on the alleged violations of ownership rules by the Essar group.
“There was a communication gap between the CBI and MCA, which of late, has been bridged,” Mittal said.
Asked who was responsible for the “misunderstanding,” Mittal said: “Let’s not get into it.”
The deputy minister, Singh too was eager to patch over the matter. “We have sorted the issue out. Whatever investigations are there, the MCA will fully co-operate with,” he said.
The issue came to the forefront after Loop Telecom issued an official statement claiming that it has been found not to have violated the cross holding rules in an investigation conducted by the Ministry of Corporate Affairs.
This was in turn a response to reports that the CBI had established that Loop Telecom was a company floated by the Essar group, in violation of the ownership rules which forbade any single firm from owning more than 10% of two or more mobile operators in a circle. Essar already had 33% in Vodafone Essar when Loop got licenses from Raja.
Reacting to the controversy, Salman Khurshid, the former minister of corporate affairs during whose tenure the ministry made a statement in the Parliament that Loop had not violated ownership norms, said his ministry only went by the book records and did not try to probe or investigate before informing the Parliament.