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Unitech brothers fall out over 2G scam
NEW DELHI, Apr 17 (Agencies):
Published on 17 Apr. 2011 10:10 PM IST
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The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has charged Unitech managing director Sanjay Chandra as a key accused in the 2G spectrum scam thanks to testimony by his brother, Ajay.
Ajay, the elder son of billionaire and Unitech promoter Ramesh Chandra, has distanced himself from Sanjay on the group's telecom business and put the onus of applying for UAS licences on the younger sibling. Ajay Chandra is also a Unitech MD.
Sanjay Chandra and Unitech Wireless have been charged with criminal conspiracy, cheating, forgery and bribery in the chargesheet filed by CBI in a special court earlier this month. It also mentioned that Unitech — a real estate major -- had authorized the younger brother to "take care of the telecom affairs".
Ajay, listed as prosecution witness number 105 in the case, has provided inputs on the involvement of the Unitech group in allocation of 2G licences and spectrum. "I state that eight group companies of Unitech Group, which applied to DoT for UAS licence on September 14, 2007, were earlier the wholly owned subsidiaries of Unitech Ltd of which I and Sanjay Chandra were Managing Directors jointly. However, the telecom business, since its inception, was being managed on a day-to-day basis by Sanjay Chandra, my brother, only," Ajay Chandra said in his statement under Section 161, CrPC, to CBI. Unlike statements under Section 164, which are recorded before a magistrate and are admissible as evidence, here a witness can retract.
In 2007, Unitech had sought 2G telecom licences through eight group companies -- Aska Project, Nahan Properties, Unitech Builders and Estates, Unitech Infrastructure, Azare Properties, Adonis Projects, Hudson Properties and Volga Properties. Once unified access service (UAS) licences were issued by the telecom department, these companies were renamed as Unitech Wireless group companies. Later, the firms were merged with Unitech Wireless (Tamil Nadu) Pvt Ltd, the accused company in the 2G case.
Though Ajay said he and Sanjay had attended a crucial Unitech board meeting related to telecom on September 21, 2007, it was his brother who was in touch with "whoever concerned" for UAS licences. "He (Sanjay) was also interacting with regard to the UAS licences for the said companies with whoever concerned. I did not attend any work relating to obtaining of the UAS licences for these companies," he said.
Further distancing himself from Unitech`s telecom foray, Ajay also said that he or his brother were not directors in the eight group companies that sought licences. In addition, he said that his brother cleared bank transactions of the group companies. "I confirm that Sanjay Chandra acted as one of the authorized signatories to operate the bank accounts of the companies," he told CBI.
When Telenor came on board, it appointed its nominees as key executives including managing directors and chief financial officers. "Both of us (Sanjay and me) are only non-executive directors of the board of Unitech Wireless Pvt Ltd," Ajay said.
He also explained the share-holding pattern of the family in the company. Telenor Asia Pvt Ltd ( Singapore) holds 67.25%, and the remaining 32.75% is held by Unitech Ltd affiliates. "Approximately, 48% shareholding of Unitech Ltd is held by my father, mother, brother, myself and affiliates," he told CBI.

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