Tuesday, 13 December 2011

'Essar' and 'Loop' executives face life sentences for their part in the '2G Spectrum' fraud

Here on Corporate Frauds Watch, we have been regularly explaining how, for decades, a minority of billionaire racketeers have been allowed to perpetrate 'MLM income opportunity' fraud all over the world, behind labyrinths of legally-registered corporate structures pursuing lawful, and/or unlawful, enterprises - preventing investigation and isolating their bosses from liability. We have also been explaining how it is possible for the same greedy crooks to use their ill-gotten gains to employ so-called 'lobbyists' to further-subvert the democratic process and rule of law, by co-opting stupid, and/or lazy, and/or corrupt, legislators, regulators and law enforcement agents.
Just over a year ago, it was reported that India's Communications and Information Technology Minister, Andimuthu Raja, and 13 other people had been charged with conspiracy, forgery and fraud, in connection with the deliberate under-selling (by an estimated $39 billions) of 21 lucrative, '2G Spectrum,' telecoms 'Unified Access Service'  licences to a privately-owned Indian company, 'Loop Telecom,' in 2008-2009. However, this scandal only came to light after Indian income tax officials began to investigate a so-called 'lobbyist,' Nira Radia. 
It has now been reported that 5 more people, and 3 companies, have been (separately) charged in connection with the same titanic fraud. 
After an apparently rigorous criminal inquiry, India's Central Bureau of Investigation alleges that 'Loop Telecom' was the product of a complex corporate conspiracy to cheat the people of India, and that this conspiracy was hatched by the top executives of the 'Essar Telecom Group,'  Ravikant and Anshuman Ruia. The charge-sheet also names the CEO of 'Essar Teleholdings,' Vikash Saraf, and the promoters of 'Loop Telecom,' Kieran and I.P. Khaitan. In brief, these 5 persons, and their respective companies, are charged with conspiring to create 'Loop Telecom' as a front to dodge Indian Dept. of Telecom regulations designed to prevent individuals, and corporate structures, from acquiring a potentially-dangerous monopoly of the Indian telecom market. If found guilty, the accused risk life sentences. In support of the charges, chief CBI officer, Vivek Priyadarshi, has submitted 398 files (containing more than 20, 000 pages of prosecution evidence) to Special Judge, O. P. Saini.
Apparently, CBI investigators were unable to find any evidence that senior Indian Dept. of Telecom officials had been aware that 'Loop Telecom' was an ileligible fake acting in breach of the regulations. If this is true, and I have no reason to doubt that it is, then these public servants are probably too stupid to be held to account in a court of law. However, I would suggest that, when the overwhelming case against the 5 telecom executives is proved, all the incompetent DoT officials who failed to do their job, should (at the very least) be sacked and obliged to hand back their salaries for the period 2008-2009.
Perhaps that might wake up other dozy Indian regulators who have (so far) failed to spot numerous 'MLM income opportunity' frauds ?
David Brear (copyright 2011)

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