Chennai, Oct 19th (): A special CBI court in Chennai dispensed from personal appearance top Reliance Infocomm executives Manoj Modi and Akhil Gupta, in the case pertaining to the loss caused to the exchequer by the company, when it was under Mukesh Ambani, by allegedly masking international calls as local.
The CBI in 2006 registered a case against six top officials, including top executives Manoj Modi and Akhil Gupta. The company has since then been transferred to Anil Ambani as part of the family settlement to divide Reliance Empire. Four of the other officials are Shankar Adawal -President Corporate Affairs, Pankaj Pawar Head–Regulatory, L B D Kuruna and K R Raja.
In briefing reporters on the case, Senior advocate N Venkataraman said, “Manoj Modi, the director and a top lieutenant of RIL chief Mukesh Ambani and Reliance Infocomm chief executive officer Akhil Gupta have been dispensed by the Court and whenever the court calls them they would appear..”
Additional chief metropolitan magistrate Raja Singh also adjourned the case to 18 November and representing Reliance Infocomm, Senior advocate B Kumar informed the court that the CBI had not given all the papers pertaining to the charges against his clients.
According to the CBI, from May 2004 to September 2004, Reliance Infocomm passed off incoming international calls as locals to avoid payment of the access deficit charge to public sector BSNL.
The charge sheet said the accused persons intentionally tampered with the working of the telegraph network of the company and presented calls directly in the local network with a dishonest intention of defrauding the central government.
The CBI said the company had masked incoming international calls as local ones through one of the three gateways — Chennai, Kolkata and Mumbai. The calls were put on the Public System Telephone Network as local.
According to the charge sheet, the company transmitted over 7.52 crore minutes of international long distance calls with manipulated ‘CLI’ during May 2004 to September 2004, evading Access Deficit Charges to the tune of Rs 32 crore.
Reliance Infocomm had under protest paid a fine of Rs 150 crore imposed by telecomtribunal TDSAT in 2005.