"It is so convenient to Kapil Sibal and to the government"
The former Telecom Minister, Arun Shourie, on Tuesday trashed Justice Shivraj Patil's report on allocation of telecom licences and bandwidth as “fabrication, suppression of records and perversion.”
“Patil is a handpicked judge who gives out a report which is so convenient to Kapil Sibal [Telecom Minister] and to the government so that they can derail the issue,” he said, while talking to reporters on the sidelines of a business meet.
Reacting to the recent Indian Space Research Organisation's spectrum deal, Mr. Shourie said he couldn't imagine free access to such a scarce spectrum.
When it was pointed out that Mr. Sibal was the Science and Technology Minister then, he said: “Kapil Sibal should answer [for this]. Probably he will select another judge to show that this was also done by the Janata Party,” he said.
Mr. Shourie accused the government of suppressing vital documents during the investigation by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG).
He accused Mr. Sibal of being an advocate of the arrested former Telecom Minister, A Raja. “He [Mr. Sibal] gives half-truths out. He is not the advocate even of his government. He is the advocate of Raja and with every press conference that he holds to protect Raja, he implicates the Prime Minister.”
Mr. Shourie said that he had individually approached the Prime Minister with proof of wrongdoings in the spectrum allocation, especially about the Swan company, but the Prime Minister did not act on it.
“He [Patil] consults nobody, interrogates nobody, questions nobody, seeks nobody's guidance of who were involved at that time in these decisions and he suddenly comes up with this kind of report,” he said.
“The Patil report is a command performance just like the Justice Banerjee report on Godhra which was ordered by Lalu Prasad. Such a report brings the judiciary into disrepute. There is such a fabrication. Sibal is fabricating the case in defence of Raja.”
Mr. Shourie alleged that the documents which showed that the NDA government acted according to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) recommendations were suppressed by the present government.
He showed four letters exchanged between TRAI and the Department of Telecommunications in 2003, which indicate that the then government acted according to the recommendations. A copy of the letters is with The Hindu.
Mr. Shourie defended the first come, first served principle and said that the problem was that Mr. Raja did not follow it.
“He was following no principle, no procedure. It is a complete misrepresentation of Raja's case that he was following the first come, first served principle.
“The point about Raja is not that he followed the first come, first served principle, but that he did not follow it. He changes the priority list, he announces the cut-off date and suddenly pre-pones it, he doesn't disclose that, he changes the basis of first come, first served that it will not be the date of application received but the date on which the conditions of the letter of intent will be fulfilled. And among the conditions [is] that you bring Rs. 1650 crore by bankers' draft within 41 minutes. Is this first come, first served?”
Mr. Shourie refuted the Patil report's claim that the multi-stage bidding of the spectrum was recommended by TRAI.
“TRAI had specifically said don't do it [multistage auctioning] just now. It recommended this only after universal licensing is instituted, which has still not taken place.”