2G Scam an UPDATE
From the time allegations of misappropriation during the bidding for allocation of 2G spectrum surfaced, till Telecom Minister A Raja's ouster, high drama charged both politics in Delhi and Tamil Nadu. So what exactly is the Spectrum Scam that led to all this?
WHAT IS SPECTRUM SCAM?
• 2G licenses issued to private telecom players at throwaway prices in 2008
• CAG: Spectrum scam has cost the government Rs. 1.76 lakh crore
• CAG: Rules and procedures flouted while issuing licenses
WHAT ARE THE CHARGES ON FORMER TELECOM MINISTER A RAJA?
CHEAP TELECOM LICENSES
• Entry fee for spectrum licenses in 2008 pegged at 2001 prices
• Mobile subscriber base had shot up to 350 million in 2008 from 4 million in 2001
NO PROCEDURES FOLLOWED
• Rules changed after the game had begun
• Cut-off date for applications advanced ...view middle of the document...
• Unitech Wireless got license for Rs. 1661 crore, sold 60% stake for Rs. 6200 crore
• All nine companies paid DoT only Rs. 10,772 crore for 2G licences
"The entire process of allocation of UAS (Unified Access Service) licences lacked transparency and was undertaken in an arbitrary, unfair and inequitable manner. The Hon'ble Prime Minister had stressed on the need for a fair and transparent allocation of spectrum, and the ministry of finance had sought for the decision regarding spectrum pricing to be considered by an EGoM. Brushing aside their concerns and advices, DoT , in 2008, proceeded to issue 122 new licenses for 2G spectrum at 2001 prices, by flouting every canon of financial propriety, rules and procedures,"
In November 2007, PM Manmohan Singh wrote to Raja expressing concern that given inadequate spectrum and the unprecedented number of applications received from fresh licenses, an auction process be followed. Raja replied saying that the auction of spectrum was considered by both TRAI and Telecom Commission and that his ministry has come to a conclusion that an auction "will be unfair, discriminator and capricious" as it would distort the level-playing field for new entrants.
The finance ministry questioned the "sanctity of continuing with a price determined way back in 2001 without any indexation or current valuation and sought review of the matter." DoT member (finance) agreed with the finance ministry, and sought an "in-depth analysis of the issue prior to taking any further action." To this Raja audaciously wrote: "These types of continuous confusions observed on the file whoever be the officer concerned do not show any legitimacy and integrity but only their vested interest."
As a matter of fact, DoT did not follow "its own guidelines on eligibility conditions arbitrarily changed the cut-off date for receipt of applications post facto and altered the conditions of the FCFS (first-come first-serve) procedure at crucial junctures without valid and cogent reasons, which gave unfair advantage to certain companies,"