Allotment procedure vitiated, says fresh plea in court

Janata Party President Subramanian Swamy on Tuesday moved the Supreme Court for a direction to the Centre that 2G Spectrum licences already issued and acted upon be cancelled and that a fresh auction be held.

In a fresh petition, Dr. Swamy wanted all eligible applicants, who had applied before the pre-announced cut-off date of October 1, 2007, permitted to participate in the auction.

Quoting the Comptroller and Auditor-General, he said: “The entire procedure of allotment [of licences] is vitiated in as much as the same has been subverted: there have been gaps in policy implementation; the High Power Telecom Commission was not consulted; the views and concerns of the Ministry of Finance were overruled; the advice of the Ministry of Law and Justice was ignored; the Prime Minister's suggestions were not followed; there was an arbitrary change by DoT in the cut-off date; even the First Come, First Served Policy was not followed; 85 of the 122 licences were issued to ineligible applicants and there was a huge loss to the exchequer, perhaps as high as Rs.1,76,000 crores.”

Dr. Swamy pointed out that 85 licences were awarded to six new entrants, who were required to fulfil their rollout obligations within 12 months of allotment. But none of them launched their services till December 31, 2009.

The petitioner alleged that after the rules were bent by the former Communications Minister, A. Raja, licences were allotted to four of his favourites: Swan, Unitech, Loop and Datacomm. All of these had an early, clandestine and unauthorised intimation of the novel, changed prerequisites and were therefore able to fulfil immediately, well-nigh instantaneously, paperwork and payment of licence fees. A logical consequence of this decision was that all applicants (by the pre-published cut-off date of October 1, 2007 the DoT had received 575 applications for grant of licences from 46 companies for all 22 service areas) were equally entitled to getting the desired licences.

While seeking to cancel the licences already issued, Dr. Swamy said if, according to the government, spectrum was a scarce resource and it was not possible to allocate it to all pending applications, then some equitable and reasonable selection criteria would have to be worked out.

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