Fairness demands that they be shifted to facilitate impartial probe, says association

While the Central Bureau of Investigation is yet to announce any major breakthrough in the case regarding alleged irregularities in the awarding of 2G licences in 2008, demand is now being raised for immediate shifting of senior Department of Telecom officials who were at the helm then.

In October 2009 CBI sleuths raided the DoT headquarters, and later in their FIR said the grant of Unified Access Service Licences for 2G spectrum to some private companies caused a loss of over Rs. 22,000 crore to the government.

“The concerned officials of the Department of Telecommunications in criminal conspiracy with private persons or companies by abusing their official position granted Unified Access Service Licences to a few selected companies at nominal rate,” said the FIR filed against unknown corrupt officials.

The Sanchar Nigam Executives Association (India) has written to Telecom Secretary P.J. Thomas seeking “immediate shifting of officers under close lens of the CBI for being directly involved in deciding 2G spectrum allocation on allegedly controversial and dubious criteria of first-cum-first-served basis” for a free and fair probe.

Demanding removal of at least three senior officials in the licensing wing that have been posted there for the past several years, the SNEA(I) letter said: “These officers have been virtually the chief architects of evolving a mechanism for allocation of spectrum that is not only under serious probe but against which an FIR on the basis of prima facie evidence has been filed by the investigating agency.

“The investigating agency will eventually decide who is involved, but fairness and transparency demands that they ought to have been immediately shifted from the key positions they continue to hold to facilitate impartial probe into an issue which undoubtedly has huge ramifications.

“The very continuance of these officers in the sensitive positions they held while finalising highly controversial first-cum-first-served criteria for allocation raises very fundamental and pertinent issue of the bona fides of the administrative ministry of allowing the investigating agency to reach an impartial and transparent conclusion.

“Besides, absence of even a very preliminary action of not transferring the officers sounds ridiculous and virtually makes a mockery of the efforts of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to get to the crux of the matter,” SNEA (I) general secretary G.L. Jogi told The Hindu.