Cong treating verdict like badge of honour: Jaitley

Cong treating verdict like badge of honour: Jaitley

Even as the government was stunned by the 2G verdict, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley pointed out that the Supreme Court had in 2012 held that the policy of the Congress-led government was "corrupt and dishonest" and cancelled 122 telecom licences.

Jaitley said the Congress was taking the ruling as a "badge of honour"  when the apex court had made such an observation about its dishonesty.

He pointed out that each and every case of these spectrum allocations was quashed by the Supreme Court as "unfair and arbitrary."

A first-come-first-served policy, with a "huge amount of arbitrariness", was followed by the UPA, intended at serving only a selected few.

"The first-come-first served policy was converted to the first-pay-first-served policy and a chosen few were informed about the change of policy... the favourites had their bank drafts prepared," he said.

"On the basis of all this, in February 2012, the Supreme Court upheld the challenge and cancelled the policy of first-come-first-served and the government was directed to have a fresh policy using auctions," Jaitley said.

"In this entire scam, who is liable? I am sure investigating agencies will have a close look at it and decide... The fact is that this was a corrupt policy intended to promote corruption. There was a huge loss to the Government of India as underscored by the Supreme Court verdict and subsequent auctions," the finance minister said.

Telecom Minister Manoj Sinha said the fate of the 122 telecom licences, of eight operators, that were cancelled in 2012 would be decided based on the investigative agencies' take on acquittal of all the accused in the 2G spectrum case.

The government's anti-corruption watchdog, Central Vigilance Commission, had investigated the allocations and had found faults with them, he said.

He said the spectrum  has been allocated through auction thereafter and that the collections during the NDA rule were 10% higher than during the UPA regime.  

The minister  added that Rs 1.9 lakh crore was raised from spectrum auctions since 2015.

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