"We are extremely pained at the methodology adopted"

The government on Friday described as “utterly erroneous and without any basis” the estimated loss of Rs. 1.76 lakh crore arrived at by the Comptroller and Auditor-General (CAG) on account of allocation of 2G spectrum to telecom operators.

“We are extremely pained at the methodology adopted by the CAG for arriving at the [allocation loss] figures that have no basis,” Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal told journalists here. The “presumptive losses” had embarrassed the government and the nation, he said, and this “resulted in a kind of sensationalism, which has allowed the Opposition to spread utter falsehood among the people.”

‘No loss to exchequer'

The exercise undertaken by the CAG on presumptive losses arising from the sale of 2G spectrum was fraught with serious errors, Mr Sibal said, adding that there was actually no loss to the exchequer. “The CAG has done injustice to itself and the Opposition is doing injustice to the aam aadmi,” he said.

There were no comments from the CAG as the report is now the property of Parliament and under the consideration of the Public Accounts Committee.

The report said the “presumptive” loss caused to the exchequer through spectrum allocation to 122 licensees and 35 dual technology licences in 2007-08 was Rs. 1,76,645 crore. It arrived at the figure on the basis of the 3G auction held earlier this year in which the government mopped up over Rs. 67,000 crore.

Pointing out that the revenue losses were actually “nil,” Mr. Sibal praised the National Telecom Policy of 1999, but said there were some “procedural irregularities” and the CBI probe would look into these and criminal culpability.

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