ED ‘probing’ alleged forex violations by Bharti Airtel

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NEW DELHI: The Minister of State for Finance, Mr Namo Narain Meena, told the Rajya Sabha on Tuesday that the Directorate of Enforcement (ED) has initiated enquiries against Bharti Airtel about alleged contraventions of the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA).

The Minister also said that the market regulator, Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), and the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) have received complaints against the company.

SEBI received complaints alleging Bharti Airtel of increasing the promoter group’s shareholding without following the norms.

It is alleged that shareholding was increased from 60.91per cent as on June 30, 2007 to 67.15 per cent as on September 30, 2008 without making an open offer. This is violation of Regulation 11 of the SEBI (Substantial Acquisition of Shares and Takeovers) Regulations 1997, said the complaint.

CBDT has also received a reference containing allegations regarding the improper accounting treatment of licence fee and spectrum charges by the company, the Minister added.

The Government has not clarified whether investigations in these cases have been completed or not.

Company ‘will cooperate’

Meanwhile, the telecom company has said that it will cooperate with the investigating agencies. In a statement it said, “Bharti Airtel adheres to the highest standards of corporate governance and always complies with all the rules and regulations laid down by various agencies and the licensor — DoT.

“We will provide all relevant details to the authorities concerned as and when required and will offer full assistance to clarify any concern.”

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