'Reports on ex-bureaucrat's note misleading'

Media reports quoting former Cabinet Secretary that he had advised Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to revise entry fees ahead of allocation of 2G licences to generate more revenue kicked up a political storm with the Congress on Friday saying that reports that have appeared in media are misleading.

“No one has read the note of former bureaucrat on 2G pricing and the analysis that has appeared in newspapers is inaccurate,” Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari told reporters here.

The Congress leader also said former cabinet secretary K M Chandrashekhra had given multiple options to generate more revenue and asserted that putting the prime minister in bad light is wrong “as this note was prepared at the behest of the prime minister”.

The prime minister had asked the then Communications Minister to examine issues related to spectrum pricing, Tewari said.

Earlier in the day, after media reports appeared saying that during deposition before the Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) on Thursday, Chandrashekhar said he had recommended to the prime minister a hike in entry fee for 2G spectrum allocation that would have mopped up Rs 35,000 crore, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Communist Party of India (CPI) sought an explanation from Singh as to why he did not act on the advice.

“These are important questions. If the JPC is for having a fair probe, it can happen only after knowing what the prime minister did on the opinion given by the cabinet secretary. The prime minister should have ensured that the spectrum is not allocated at a lower price,” BJP spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad said here.

CPI leader Gurudas Dasgupta said it was the “constitutional responsibility” of the prime minister to ensure that 2G licenses were not given away at lower prices.

“The prime minister has not done his job by not taking note of the letter. Is that not part of his responsibility,” Dasgupta asked.

Both Prasad and Dasgupta are members of the JPC, examining the 2G spectrum allocation controversy.

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