Sibal surprised over Baijal's letter to Shourie

Sibal surprised over Baijal's letter to Shourie

"The real problem started with that correspondence and the minister was persuaded to move forward without following TRAI's recommendation... This is what the one-man committee has found out," Sibal told CNBC.

Speaking on the findings of the one-man committee, headed by retired Justice Shivraj Patil, who went into the procedures followed by Telecom Ministry since 2001 to 2009, the Minister said "TRAI communicates as an institution and Baijal comunicated in his personal capacity."

The one-man committee has said that no procedure was followed in a transparent and fair manner ever since 2001 and pointed out that there was deviation from the Cabinet decision and TRAI recommendation of multi-stage bidding for allocation of spectrum.

Asked whether there was a collusion between Baijal and then Telecom Secretary, Sibal declined to make any comment saying it will be "very irresponsible for me" to attribute some criminal intent and collusion.

"What we have done is we have forwarded entire report to the CBI... there was collusion or no collusion, it is for them (CBI) to decide," he said adding that the one-man committee has not accepted Baijal's letter as justifictaion for First-Come, First-Serve policy.

He also accepted that the same policy was followed by former Telecom Minister A Raja and did not change it with a motive, with an intent.

"Yes, it had very serious indictment of what A Raja did im implementing the so-called First-Come, First-Serve policy," Sibal said.

Raja has been facing allegations of having favoured some firms and tweaked the rules of First-Come, First-Serve to help them. In all, 122 licences were given in January 2008 by him besides giving dual technology licecnes to Tatas, RCom and others.

The CAG has estimated a presumptive loss of Rs 1.76 lakh crore due to sale of licences in 2008.

Sibal acknowledged Patil's findings that Raja first advanced the cut-off date arbitrarily and then did not follow the policy in letter and spirit.

"...That has made more serious part of the report mainly the process of implementation of policy. The report suggests that this was done with a motive, with an intent," Sibal said.