PAC seeks DoT response on 40 questions on 2G spectrum scam

The questions highlight a wide range of gaps in policy implementation right from 2003 onwards. The issues raised include side tracking the views and concerns of the Ministry of Finance by former Telecom Minister A Raja, the First-Come, First-Serve policy and ignoring the advice of the Ministry of Law and Justice to refer the issue of new licences in 2007 to the GoM.

PAC has asked the Department of Telecom (DoT) as to why the spectrum (radio waves) allocation was not delinked from the licence as it was known that spectrum was scarce vis-a-vis the demand.

"By not taking proactive measures of delinking the scarce resource from licence which led to allocation of 2G spectrum in 2008 at 2001 price, are DoT not giving an impression that they are solely responsible for the alleged 2G scam," PAC said in its questionnaire.

PAC has sent the questionnaire even as the Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) has been set up to look into all the details of the 2G spectrum allocation in 2008 and in the telecom sector from 1998 onwards.

PAC also wanted to know from DoT that at what level the decision was taken to change the Terms of References of the Cabinet decision of 2003 to associate the Ministry of Finance in discussions for efficient allocation of spectrum and price fixation. Sources in the Telecom Ministry confirmed the receipt of PAC's communication and said they would respond to all the queries, but did not elaborate.

On the issue of large number of applications of over 570, the Parliamentary panel wanted to know that whether DoT consulted telecom regulator Trai due to its recommendations of "No Cap" on number of operators in a circle.

"What was the specific impediment that the DoT faced in processing all the 575 applications received up to October 1, 2007," the PAC said. There are a couple of questions with regard to the eligibility of the new operators and wanted to know whether DoT took the help of the company secretaries and chartered accountants while examining the applications.

The communication has been sent to Telecom Secretary R Chandrasekhar and would decide the future course of action on receipt of DoT's replies, sources said.

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