Raja cornered over spectrum allocation


In a lengthy debate on the working of his ministry, opposition leaders put the minister on the mat by charging that allocation of spectrum to mobile operators resulted in a loss of Rs 60,000 crore to the exchequer. But minister Raja rejected the charge and said there was no corruption and every decision was taken as per rules.

Leader of Opposition Arun Jaitley said the difference in the valuation of spectrum awarded by the government in 2007 to private players and the value realised in transaction with foreign companies in each case has been a minimum Rs 6,000-7,000 crore.

“The nine licences were issued collectively along with spectrum and were allotted at an under-valuation, which exceeds Rs 60,000 crore,” he said, participating in the debate.
Describing it as a “criminal misconduct”, he said the case should be investigated. DoT followed a first-come-first-served policy while allocating licences and spectrum for Rs 1,651 crore.

This policy came under severe criticism when new operators like Swan Telecom and Unitech Wireless sold stakes in their telecom ventures to foreign partners at a huge premium.

Describing the 2007 allotment of 2G spectrum (first-come-first-serve basis) as “wrongful”, the BJP leader said: “there is no reason why the guilty in this case should not be investigated and prosecuted for having conferred a huge pecuniary advantage on private persons.”

Independent member Rajeev Chandrashekar said while allocating 3G, the government must follow maximum transparency and ensure that the government got highest amount through competitive bidding.

Charging that some of the decisions of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) had raised suspicions of favouring select telecom companies, he said the government must bring amendments to  theTRAI act to ensure all decisions announced are fair.

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