Vodafone gets ED notice under money laundering law

Vodafone India managing director, Martin Pieters, has been served a notice by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002, to either appear in person or through an authorised representative before Tuesday.

The development comes at a time when a court battle is on between Vodafone India and the finance ministry over the firm's $11.2-billion acquisition of Hutchison's stake in Hutch-Essar in 2007.

The notice has been sent under Section 50 of the Act that gives the ED the power to act as a court. It was sent to the company on March 27, signed by assistant director, Satyendra Singh. When contacted, a Vodafone spokesperson declined to comment on the matter.

The notice does not explain the nature of the charges, but it is likely that it relates to the grant of spectrum to the company beyond 6.2 MHz in 2001-02.

Vodafone, along with Bharti Airtel, was raided by the Central Bureau of Investigation on November 19 in connection with the excess spectrum issue and cases registered against them. The investigation is currently on.

The company has been asked to appear with a set of documents detailed by the Enforcement Directorate.

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