Tina Ambani, former actor and the wife of billionaire Anil Ambani appearing as a witness in the 2G case in a Delhi court today said that she was not actively involved in the business and the company’s affairs.
“I’m a social worker. I take care of the family and engage in social work. I’m not actively involved in the business and the company’s affairs,” she said.
The CBI said it wanted to cross examine Mrs Ambani as her answers were not satisfactory.
“Tina Ambani is concealing facts, her replies not satisfactory, we want to cross examine her. She’s deliberately concealing knowledge about her consent to the documents and the role played by her,” CBI said.
When the court asked her to identify minutes of a January 2006 board meeting she said, “Before a meeting, they brief me, I’m told what to do, what to execute. I follow instructions. If something has been recorded, it must be true. This meeting was in 2006. It’s difficult for me to recall now.”
As part of the cross examination CBI asked Mrs Ambani if she was concealing facts and if she knew the three Reliance Telecom executives accused in the case. Mrs Ambani responded by saying she was telling the truth and she did not know the executives.
Her husband’s testimony was recorded yesterday and the CBI had said he should be declared a hostile witness for not co-operating.
Mr Ambani’s Reliance Telecom is accused of using a company called Swan Telecom as a front to gather more licenses and second generation or 2 G airwaves than was legally permissible.
In court yesterday, packed with reporters, Mr Ambani , chairman of Reliance ADA Group said, “I am not aware,” when asked if Reliance had invested in Swan.
The CBI wanted to examine Tina Ambani as a prosecution witness because it says she presided over meetings where key decisions related to Swan Telecom were taken.
Yesterday, Mr Ambani who had lost a legal bid to postpone his appearance as a prosecution witness in the case, replied frequently that he did “not recall” or “was not aware” when asked about various meetings.
He also backtracked from an earlier statement purportedly made to the CBI, forcing the agency to seek that he be declared hostile. AFP quoted prosecutor U.U. Lalit as saying, “We have asked the judge to declare Mr Ambani a hostile witness.”
But defence lawyer Vijay Agarwal, said, “Anil Ambani was not a hostile witness. When he was cross-examined by the prosecution he merely said he doesn’t remember whether it was his statement that had been recorded by the CBI.”
The case centres on whether mobile network licences and accompanying second-generation or 2G airwaves were given in sweetheart deals to ineligible companies in 2008 by then Telecom Minister A Raja, who is the main accused in the case.
According to estimates of government auditor CAG, this resulted in a loss of Rs. 1.76 lakh crore to the exchequer. The government contests that assessment.
In 2011, three officials of Reliance Telecom were arrested for allegedly using Swan Telecom to get licences and frequency beyond their permissible quota. The promoters of Swan were also arrested in 2011. All of them were later granted bail.