CAG indicts Raja for arbitrariness, ignoring PM’s advice

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

NEW DELHI - Former telecom minister A. Raja went ahead arbitrarily with the 2G spectrum allotment in 2008, ignoring the advice of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh among others and causing a “presumed loss of Rs.1.76 lakh crore” to the exchequer, the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) said in its report tabled in parliament Tuesday.

Raja, who quit as communications and IT minister Sunday night, ignored the advice of not just the prime minister but also the finance ministry and the law ministry on the issue, the CAG said in the report that was tabled in both houses of parliament.

The presumptive loss caused to the government through spectrum allocation to 122 licencees and 35 dual technology licences in 2007-08 was Rs.1,76,645 crore (Rs.1.76 trillion/approximately $39 billion), the report said.

The figures were arrived on the basis of 3G auction held earlier this year in which the government collected over Rs.67,000 crore.

The CAG report said: “It (the ministry of communications and IT) decided to go ahead with arbitrarily deciding that the cut-off date for issuance of Letters of Intent would be advanced to Sept 25, 2007, and applications received would be decided on FCFS (first-come first-served) basis.”

The prime minister had written to the ministry in November 2007 suggesting the introduction of “transparent methodology” of auction, revision of entry fee in the “backdrop of inadequate spectrum and large number of applications received for fresh licences”, the report said.

The report was tabled in the Lok Sabha by Minister of State for Finance S.S. Palanimanickam, who belongs to Raja’s party DMK. In the Rajya Sabha, it was tabled by his colleague Minister of State for Finance Namo Narayan Meena.

The report, large parts of which have appeared in the media soon after it was submitted to the president, led to furious demands for Raja’s resignation. He finally quit Sunday night.

The opposition is now demanding a joint parliamentary committee (JPC) probe into the 2G spectrum allotment.

Filed under: Economy

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