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Suicide linked to Indian telecoms scandal

CHENNAI, Mar 16 – An Indian businessman who had been questioned over a multi-billion-dollar telecoms fraud was found dead on Wednesday in the southern city of Chennai after allegedly committing suicide.

Police described Sadiq Batcha as a business associate and aide to A. Raja, the former telecoms minister at the centre of a scandal that has rocked the government.

Raja is under arrest accused of rigging the sale of second-generation (2G) mobile licences in 2008, causing losses of up to $40 billion to the public treasury.

Batcha was found hanged in his Chennai home two months after police raided his house and office as part of a probe into the scandal. He was questioned and some of his financial records were examined.

Police are looking into allegations that selected firms benefited from the 2G licence bidding rules when Raja was telecoms minister and whether kickbacks were paid.

Billionaire tycoon Anil Ambani and several other business chiefs have also been quizzed by investigators during the inquiry.

The 2G scandal has caused major embarrassment for Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who has been accused of ignoring corruption to ensure the survival of his coalition government.

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