Behura blames Raja for 2G scam

Behura blames Raja for 2G scam

Officer had difference of opinion with ex-minister

Former telecom secretary Siddharth Behura, one of the key accused in the 2G scam, on Tuesday told a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) that the then telecom minister A Raja has taken major decisions on granting 2G licences in 2008.

Appearing before the JPC, the retired IAS officer said he had difference of opinion with the former telecom minister on first-come-first-serve policy (FCFS) for allocation of the spectrum.

“He ( Behura) conceded that he had some difference of opinion with the minister on this position... but the minister said the decision in this regard was already taken,” committee chairman P C Chacko told reporters.

He said the DoT deviated from the FCFS policy in 2008 as seniority of applicants, which was to be decided after the date of receipt of the application in DoT central registry, was instead decided as per the date of compliance of the letter of intent (LoI).

Behrua told the committee that he was of the opinion that if more than one applicant complies with the condition of the LoI, then their inter se seniority of submission should be taken.

Chacko said Behura had prepared a note in support of his opinion. “But the minister did not agree and he deleted the observation and wrote on the file ‘not necessary as it is a new stipulation’. This is where he said there was a difference of opinion,” he said quoting the submission of Behura.
The former telecom secretary, who is out on bail, told the panel that he had found the decision to change the cut-off date from October 30, 2007, to September 25, 2007, as “unusual”.

The JPC is likely to summon Raja for disposition soon. However, the panel was yet to decided on calling rest of the former telecom ministers.

There is a tussle between the Congress and BJP members on summoning the former telecom ministers. While the BJP wanted Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Home Minister P Chidambaram, who has also served as finance minister, to be summoned by the panel, the Congress maintained that former telecom ministers who have served under the then NDA government should also called by the JPC.

However, Chacko said nine members of the panel gave their list of witnesses to be summoned and in the next meeting it will be finalised whom to be summoned.

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