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Tuesday, November 16, 2010

CAG report tabled in Parliament, indicts A Raja

16 Nov 2010

Government on Tuesday tabled in Parliament the CAG report on 2G spectrum allocation, whose reported extracts have created a political storm and led to the resignation of Telecom Minister A Raja. The report says that 85 out of 122 licenses issued in 2008 were found to be given to companies which did not satisfy basic eligibility criteria.

It has also blamed the DoT of keeping the issue of spectrum pricing outside the purview of the GoM. The report has said that the allocation of 2G spectrum lacked transparency and the DoT did not follow guidelines.

The report has also said that TRAI remained a helpless spectator when the spectrum was allotted in 2008 at the 2001 prices.

Telecom Minister A Raja had justified allotment of spectrum to a few new operators in 2008 without reconsidering the old entry fee discovered in 2001, ignoring the advise of the Prime Minister, says CAG.

The government has expressed readiness to discuss the CAG report after it is tabled in Parliament.

The report was placed in the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha amid uproar by the Opposition which demanded a Joint Parliamentary Committee probe into the alleged scam.

It was tabled in the Lower House by Minister of State for Finance S S Palanimanickam, who belongs to the DMK, and in the Upper House by his ministerial colleague Namo Narayan Meena.

Raja, who is a member of the Lok Sabha, was not present in the House when the report was tabled as soon as it reassembled at noon after an hour-long adjournment.

The report has pegged the revenue loss to the exchequer at Rs 1.76 lakh crore due to non-auctioning of the spectrum in 2008.

After the extracts of the report came out in the media, the Opposition launched a blistering attack on the government demanding Raja's removal and a JPC probe.

Raja has maintained that he has done no wrong and distributed the licenses as per the policies followed by his predecessors since 1999.

He initially refused to resign but finally quit on Sunday after intense pressure.

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