Mukesh Ambani fires first shot in data war with Reliance Jio Irrigation scam: Trouble ahead for Ajit Pawar? STATE CABINET SCRAPPED 94 TENDERS
MOBILE JUGGERNAUT 4G telecom network’s low-low price offer could shake up mobile industry
Reliance Industries launched its new 4G telecom network on Thursday, offering free voice calls and rock-bottom data prices in a potential game-changer that could fuel an all-out price war in a market of 950-odd million mobile subscribers in India. RIL chairman Mukesh Ambani, India’s richest man, announced the launch of Jio at the company’s 42nd annual general meeting in Mumbai, vowing to “take our nation from data shortage to data abundance and to enable a digital life for digital India”.
“The world’s demand for digital oxygen, that is data, is growing explosively. Jio’s mission is to meet this exploding need for India…”
The aggressive pricing sent shares of established telecom players into a nosedive and brought back memories of 2003 when Reliance Infocomm, then part of the undivided Reliance group, launched what was called the ‘Monsoon Hungama’ that offered services bundled with handsets at Rs501.
Reliance Infocomm is now under the Reliance Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group headed by Mukesh’s brother TARIFF THE NETWORK Anil Ambani. “We can transform India from a high price data market to one with the lowest data rates anywhere in the world,” said Mukesh Ambani, promising free voice calls and roaming even after the commercial launch on December 31.
The network will be run by a new company called RJio, a digital empire stretching from phones and hardware to home entertainment and custommade apps, Ambani said as he dedicated his most ambitious venture to PM Narendra Modi’s Digital India initiative. GETTING CONNECTED ADD-ONS
Is former deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar, accused of massive irregularities in Maharashtra’s multi-crore irrigation scam, headed down the same path as his party colleague Chhagan Bhujbal who was arrested by the enforcement directorate (ED) in March?
With the ED set to probe the Rs465-crore money trail after the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) this month filed a charge sheet in the Balganga project, the indications are that things may now get more difficult for Pawar. The ACB charge sheet, which HT has accessed, did not name him but had made it clear that the politician had not got a clean chit. It had kept room open for further investigations.
The ACB charge sheet says the contractor, FA Enterprises was paid Rs465 crore (total cost of the project had been hiked to Rs1220 crore) until December 2013 to construct the Balganga Dam. The ACB said Rs344.16 crore had been diverted by the contractor to nine other companies of his in the name of sub contracting the works. The charge sheet states that many of these companies had no prior experience of such work.
The ED will now probe whether this money can be tracked back to any individuals including politicians involved in clearing the project. Ajit Pawar, who had cleared the project as water resources minister, has already been questioned in the Balganga project case.