India denies bail to executives in telecom fraud

May 23, 2011
Reliance ADA Group Managing Director Gautam Doshi leaves after an appearance in a New Delhi court in April 2011. An Indian court denied bail to five top executives accused in a massive telecom scandal that has rocked the Congress-led government, saying the charges against them are too serious.

An Indian court denied bail Monday to five top executives accused in a massive telecom scandal that has rocked the Congress-led government, saying the charges against them are too serious.

The five face charges of cheating, forgery and abetment to crime in the case involving the allegedly fraudulent sale of telecom licences in 2008, which the national auditor estimates cost the state nearly $40 billion in losses.

The five executives, arrested in April, included Reliance Telecom managing Gautam Doshi, senior vice presidents Hari Nair and Surender Pipara.

The other two were Swan Telecom director Vinod Goenka and Unitech Wireless director Sanjay Chandra. Goenka is also managing director of top Indian real estate firm DB Realty.

The Delhi High ruled in a 34-page decision the five should remain in jail "taking into account the gravity" of the accusations against them.

The court, upholding a lower court decision, added it feared the accused might interfere "with the process of justice by tampering with the evidence".

Police have arrested eight other people in the graft case including former telecom minister A. Raja and Kanimozhi, who uses one name, daughter of the leader of a key south Indian ally of the ruling national Congress party.

Prosecutors allege Raja sold telecom licences at give-away prices to favoured companies that paid bribes to secure sought-after second-generation (2G) bandwidth in the world's fastest-growing .

Separately, Kanimozhi, arrested last Friday, filed a fresh plea for bail after a lower court rejected her request.

Police have accused her of accepting bribes totalling two billion rupees ($45 million) channelled through a she partly owns.

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