Former Department of Telecom official A.K. Srivastava on Wednesday told a Delhi court that former Telecom Minister A. Raja’s private secretary R.K. Chandolia had asked him (Mr. Srivastava) to stop receiving new applications for 2G spectrum licences once the Unitech group firms submit them.
Deposing before the court as a CBI witness, Mr. Srivastava, who retired as Deputy Director-General (Access Service) from the DoT, said on September 24, 2007, Mr. Chandolia had told him that Unitech’s applications will be submitted to the department on that day itself.
“On September 24, 2007, when about 167 applications were already received, R.K. Chandolia asked me whether applications of Unitech group have been received. I enquired from dealing section and replied back to him that applications of Unitech group have not been received in the section till then.
“He (Mr. Chandolia) told me that applications of Unitech group will be submitted to DoT today and thereafter, I should stop receiving further Unified Access Services Licence (UASL) applications,” Mr. Srivastava told Special CBI Judge O.P. Saini.
Mr. Srivastava’s testimony assumes significance as the CBI, in its charge sheet, had said that in pursuance of a conspiracy to favour telecom firms, Unitech Wireless (Tamil Nadu) Ltd and Swan Telecom, Mr. Raja had decided to accept applications filed with DoT till September 25, 2007 only.
Mr. Raja and Mr. Chandolia, along with others, are facing trial in the 2G case. Three telecom firms — Unitech Wireless (Tamil Nadu) Ltd, Swan Telecom and Reliance Telecom Ltd are also an accused in the case.
Mr. Srivastava, whose statement remained inconclusive on Wednesday and would continue on August 6, 2012 said he had told Mr. Chandolia that it was “not possible” to stop receiving applications for UASL after Unitech group submits their applications.
He said Mr. Chandolia then asked him to originate a proposal to put a cut-off date on receipt of further UASL applications.
“I told that it was not possible as new applicants have to be given a reasonable time to apply for the UAS licences after a public notice. He (Mr. Chandolia) then directed me to originate a proposal in the file to put a cut-off date on receipt of further UASL applications.
“As directed by the PS to the then MOC&IT A. Raja, I originated this proposal in the file proposing that we may announce a cut-off date of October 10, 2007 for receipt of new UASL applications till further orders,” he said.
Mr. Srivastava said he submitted the file to Mr. Raja through proper channel and in the evening of September 24, 2007, he again received a call from Mr. Chandolia to verify whether Unitech group companies had filed their applications.
He said that he had proposed a cut-off date of October 10, 2007 for receipt of applications for the UASL but Mr. Raja on September 24, 2007 decided to keep it to October 1, 2007 in view of pendency of large number of applications.
He said Mr. Raja had on October 18, 2007, granted in-principle approval for dual technology to three companies — Reliance Communications Ltd, Shyam Telelinks and HFCL Infotel.
“These three applications were processed as per the policy approved by A. Raja on October 17, 2007...
“These three applications were kept pending from 2006 till October 18, 2007 as there was no clarity on the amount of requisite fee for grant of in-principle approval for dual technology. These applications were moved as per the Cabinet decision of 2003 to grant in-principle approval as the licence was technology neutral,” Mr. Srivastava said.