| NEW DELHI
NEW DELHI Dec 12 India's federal police filed
fraud charges against five executives at Essar Group and Loop
Telecom on Monday, as part of a sprawling probe into a
multi-billion-dollar telecoms case that has rocked the country's
political and business establishments.
Alleged corruption in the sale of telecoms licences in 2007
and 2008 may have cost New Delhi up to $39 billion in
lost revenue, and led to the arrest and sacking of a former
telecoms minister and criminal charges against many top company
Documents seen by Reuters on Monday showed the federal
investigator filed fraud and criminal conspiracy charges against
billionaire Ravi Ruia and his brother Anshuman Ruia, two of the
owners of the Essar Group, which has interests spanning energy
and telecoms to steel and shipping.
Police also charged Vikas Sharaf, a director of
the Essar Group.
The Essar executives were also charged with controlling
Loop, while having substantial stakes in Vodafone.
In July, Vodafone sealed a deal to buy out Essar's share
from their Indian joint venture, ending a highly fractious
Essar, in a statement, has denied all charges and said it
would take legal recourse.
Essar owns a less-than 10 percent stake in Loop Telecom,
which is among the companies asked to defend licences issued in
2008, which a state auditor subsequently said they were not
Two executives of Loop Telecom, Kiran Khaitan and I.P.
Khaitan, were also charged on Monday, the documents showed. All
the accused could be arrested if not granted bail.
The government auditor last year said Loop, which was issued
21 telecoms licences, suppressed facts, its authorised share
capital was much less than required, and it did not have telecom
as the main object clause in its memorandum of association,
among other flaws.
The fresh charges come three weeks after India's Supreme
Court granted bail to five company executives charged in the
same telecoms licensing scandal.