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    Home ministry redflag for Etisalat DB

    New Delhi: CNN-IBN has accessed documents that raise concerns over Etisalat links to Pakistan and Afghanistan. After the CAG rap in the 2G case, more trouble comes calling for telecom operator Etisalat DB.The Foreign Investment Promotion Board has rejected a proposal by the UAE based Etisalat Corporation and its Mauritius arm to invest Rs 380 crore in the Indian subsidiary.the home ministry has said that Etisalat DB director Shahid Usman Balwa should not be associated with company in any capacity. It’s for the first time that MHA has objected to an Indian director in the company.MHA's other concerns include Etisalat's operations in Afganisation and Pakistan. The backend technical tie-up with Chinese firm Huawei is another red flag. Huawei, founded by a PLA officer, has the capability to remotely manipulate equipment it supplies to its clients.The FIPB proposal was rejected four times. The last in September this year Etisalat approached FIPB in January 2010 to increase foreign holding from 49% to 54.27%. FIPB clearance is needed for foreign investments above 49 percent.“We have written to the Ministry of Home Affairs to give us reasons and also to carry out a detailed investigation as to why such a condition has been imposed and if there are any concerns that the MHA has,” said Shahid Usman Balwa, Director, Etisalat DB. The FIPB rejection means the company cannot expand its operations with foreign funds inflow. The rejection comes soon after the CBI raided DB Realty in the housing loan scandal. The realty firm is said to have strong political links with a Maratha strongman. Etisalat's previous avatar, Swan telecom is already under the scanner for having violated the eligibility criteria in getting spectrum. Despite clarifications from Etisalat that the Indian operations have no links with Pakistan and Afghanistan and assurances that national security will not be compromised, the home ministry has not relented. A security question mark on top of a spectrum sale and a CBI raid makes the going tough for Etisalat DB and this raises the question that have telecom companies had an easy run till now and will the government read out the riot act to them.