PMO seeks 2G case details ahead of budget session
NEW DELHI BRACING for a stinging opposition attack on 2G issue during budget session of Parliament, the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) has asked the telecom department to give full details on the corruption cases.
In a note to Department of Telecomm (DoT), the PMO has asked for the report of the Comptroller and Auditor General including corruption allegations against former minister Dayanidhi Maran.
It asked the department to give inputs on important cases pending before the Supreme Court regarding 2G spectrum allocation and draft telecom policies, official sources said.
The PMO has directed the telecom department to furnish complete information on spectrum allocation, sharing of spectrum and Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) recommendations concerning spectrum allocation, they said.
The PMO had said these “important issues have been identified which are likely to be raised in the forthcoming session of Parliament” and sought notes on them.
BJP and Left parties have made it clear that they will put the Government on the mat after the Supreme Court had scrapped all the 122 telecom licenses issued during the tenure of former Telecom Minister A Raja, who has been in Tihar Jail for over a year.
The 2G spectrum scandal involved officials in the government of India illegally undercharging mobile telephony companies for frequency allocation licenses, which they would use to create 2G subscriptions for cell phones.
The shortfall between the money collected and the money which the law mandated to be collected is estimated to be Rs176,645 crore (USD 38.86 billion) as valued by Comptroller and Auditor General of India based on 3G and BWA spectrum auction prices which held in 2010.
However the exact loss is disputed, Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) pegged the loss at Rupees 30,984.55 crore (USD 6.82 billion) in its first charge sheet filed on April 2 .
Meanwhile, Chiefs of Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), Income Tax and Enforcement Directorate have been called by the Indian Central Vigilance Commission to give a detailed update on their probe in the 2G case and discuss the way forward for investigations.
The CBI, which has arrested former Indian telecom minister A Raja and 13 others and booked three companies, will make its presentation on Tuesday, official sources said.
While the ED is scheduled to make its submissions on February 22, the Income Tax Department will do so on February 24.
“The officials have been called to discuss the probe in 2G matter. They will be giving a detailed presentation before the Commission,” the sources said. The trial in the 2G case involves 17 accused, including three companies — Reliance Telecom Ltd, Swan Telecom and Unitech Ltd.
Besides Raja, his former private secretary RK Chandolia, former Telecom Secretary Siddharth Behura, Kanimozhi and Kalaignar TV’s MD Sharad Kumar are facing trial. The special court had also framed charges against six corporate honchos - Reliance ADAG Group Managing Director Gautam Doshi, its senior Vice President Hari Nair, Group President Surendra Pipara, Shahid Usman Balwa, Vinod Goenka and Sanjay Chandra.
The others facing trial are Bollywood producer Karim Morani, directors of Kusegaon Fruits and Vegetables Ltd Asif Balwa and Rajiv Aggarwal. All the 17 have been charged under various provisions of the IPC for criminal breach of trust, conspiracy, cheating, forgery and the Prevention of Corruption Act. Barring Raja and Behura, all are out on bail.
The meeting comes in the wake of a Supreme Court direction to the CBI to file status reports on its ongoing probe in the spectrum case to the CVC.
The apex court had on February 2 cancelled 122 2G licences given to telecom companies, holding that they were issued in a “totally arbitrary and unconstitutional manner”. The apex court had also asked the government to initiate a process to allot fresh licences based on auction of spectrum.