India's Central Bureau of Investigation has raided the offices of Vodafone and Bharti Airtel amid fresh allegations of spectrum allocation conspiracies.
The nation's peak investigator has opened a case against three private mobile companies, and a former chairman and secretary of the telecom ministry over 2G license allocations.
Officials are accused of conspiring with the operators to allocate additional spectrum against the advice of a technical committee, and to craft a charging policy that caused a loss to the government of around 5 billion rupees (€71.4 million) between 2001 and 2011.
The former telecom ministry officials are also accused of unfairly favoring the operators involved, as well as certain other telecom companies, in the allocations.
Spokespeople from Bharti Airtel and Vodafone confirmed their offices had been searched to Bloomberg, but denied any suggestion they had acted contrary to laws and regulations.
The CBI probe comes in the middle of court hearings over the agency's investigation into a separate 2G frequency allocation scandal dating to 2008. A handful of telecom industry executives and former communications minister Andimuthu Raja are being prosecuted over claims they conspired to conduct a 2G allocation on a “first-come-first-serve” basis, rather than a more lucrative auction.