2G scam: Supreme Court details how Raja ignored all to help cronies

Posted on February 3, 2012. Filed under: Uncategorized |

NEW DELHI: The SC order said quite clearly that then telecom minister A Raja “wanted to favour some companies at the cost of the public exchequer” and lists seven steps he took to ensure this happened. Here are the steps as the SC saw them:

1. After taking over as telecom minister, Raja directed that all applications received for UAS licences should be kept pending till receipt of the Trai’s recommendations

2. The recommendations made by Trai on August 28, 2007, were not placed before the fullTelecom Commission which would have included the finance secretary. The notice of the meeting of the Telecom Commission was not given to any of the non-permanent members though Trai’s recommendations for allocation of 2G spectrum had serious financial implications and it was therefore necessary for DoT to take the finance ministry’s opinion under theGovernment of India (Transaction of Business) Rules, 1961.

3. The DoT officers who attended the Telecom Commission meeting held on October 10, 2007, had no choice but to approve Trai’s recommendations, since they would otherwise have “incurred” Raja’s “wrath”.

4. Since Cabinet had approved recommendations made by the Group of Ministers, the DoT had to discuss the issue of spectrum pricing with the finance ministry. But, since Raja knew that the finance secretary had objected to the allocation of 2G spectrum at rates fixed in 2001, he did not consult the finance minister or other officials.

5. Raja brushed aside the law minister’s suggestion that the matter should be placed before the empowered group of ministers. Also, within hours of the receipt of the suggestion made by the PM in his letter dated November 2, 2007, that keeping in view the inadequacy of spectrum, transparency and fairness should be maintained in allocation of the spectrum, Raja rejected it saying that it would be unfair, discriminatory, arbitrary and capricious to auction spectrum to new applicants because it would not give them a level-playing field. He also introduced a cut-off date of September 25, 2007, for considering applications though only the previous day a DoT press release had said October 1, 2007, would be the last date. This arbitrary action of Raja “though appears to be innocuous was actually intended to benefit some of the real estate firms who did not have any experience in dealing with telecom services and who had made applications only on 24.9.2007, i.e. one day before the cut-off date fixed by the C&IT minister on his own”.

6. The cut-off date of September 25, 2007, decided by Raja on November 2, 2007, was not made public till January 10, 2008, and the first-come-first-served principle followed since 2003 was changed by him at the last moment through a press release dated January 10, 2008. “This enabled some of the applicants, who had access either to the minister or DoT officers, get bank drafts prepared towards performance guarantee of about Rs 1,600 crore”.

7. “The manner in which the exercise for grant of LoIs to the applicants was conducted on 10.1.2008 leaves no room for doubt that everything was stage managed to favour those who were able to know in advance change in the implementation of the first-come-first-served polcy.” As a result, some firms which had submitted applications in 2004 or 2006 were pushed down in the priority and those who had applied between August and September 2007 succeeded.

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