Vodafone is today to reportedly begin due diligence on Indian mobile phone firm Hutchison Essar.

The move could see Vodafone buying the firm in a deal worth £9 to £10 billion pounds denying rival companies, including Indian suitor Reliance Communications, a stake in the business.

Hutchison Whampoa, the Hong Kong group with a 67% indirect stake in Hutchison Essar, would effectively also be severing ties with the minority stakeholder, Essar reports today claimed.

Essar had also wanted to buy the rest of the company from Whampoa and the FT report suggests the company may now go to court for the right to extend its existing ownership stake.

It said an exclusive deal with Vodafone was in the offing because Reliance had been denied access to Hutchison Essar’s books and that Vodafone had appointed Ernst & Young to carry out the due diligence work.