I took instructions on phone from Anand Bhatt, while signing applications for Swan
Deposing before the special court in the 2G spectrum case on Monday, Reliance ADA Group president A. N. Sethuraman mentioned Anand Bhatt, who died during the 26/11 terror attacks in Mumbai, as the man from whom he took telephonic instructions while signing UAS licence applications for Swan Telecom in J&K and other circles.
Interestingly, Bhatt, who was a solicitor associated with a number of corporate houses, has not been named even once in Mr. Sethuraman's witness statement, made under Section 161 of the Criminal Procedure Code, recorded by a CBI investigating officer. A few other prosecution witnesses have named Bhatt as a director in Swan Telecom, a post he quit on April 24, 2007.
During cross-examination by senior advocate H. H. Ponda, counsel for the accused Gautam Doshi, Mr. Sethuraman said: “The instructions regarding keeping the applications [for UAS licences] ready must have been received by me from Anand Bhatt before March 2, 2007. On getting the applications ready, I contacted Anand Bhatt and asked for further instructions and he told me to hold on for a couple of days as certain formalities were to be completed. He called me again on March 5, 2007, and told me to go ahead and submit the applications.”
Last Friday, Reliance Capital vice-president Anand Subramaniam — who identified cheques issued from Reliance Communications' accounts in favour of Swan Telecom — during cross-examination, said he did not know Bhatt.
Mr. Sethuraman was also shown UAS licence applications for various circles and asked to identify his signatures, which he did.
Further, he said the signature on certified true copies of the memorandum of association and article of association of Swan Telecom annexed with each application “appears to be of” the accused Hari Nair, senior vice-president of Reliance ADA Group and company secretary of Swan Telecom.
Mr. Sethuraman also identified a photocopied annexure of a certificate issued by Mr. Nair for the 15 circles that stated: “This is to certify that equity shareholders of Swan Telecom holding equity of 10 per cent or more, either directly or through its associates do not have substantial equity holding in more than one licensee company…”
(Judge O. P. Saini recorded in his order on charges on October 22: “Directly or indirectly it [Reliance Communications/Reliance Telecom] was holding 100 per cent shares of Swan Telecom on the date of application. The source of funding of Swan Telecom was RCL/ RTL...In a sense, Swan Telecom was RCL/RTL itself and Swan Telecom was just a mask for it...It was trying to do indirectly what could not be done directly. Apparently, it was ineligible on the date of application.”)