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Updated: December 7, 2010 19:38 IST

Ex-telecom secretary appears before PAC on spectrum allocation

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Former Telecom Secretary Siddharth Behura. File Photo.
The Hindu
Former Telecom Secretary Siddharth Behura. File Photo.

Former Telecom Secretary Siddharth Behura on Tuesday appeared before the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) and is understood to have told it that all decisions related to 2G Spectrum allocation had been taken by the then minister A. Raja and he only carried out the orders.

Mr. Behura reportedly told the Committee headed by BJP leader Murli Manohar Joshi that most of the decisions on 2G allocation had already been taken before he joined as the Secretary in the Department of Telecom, sources said.

He is understood to have claimed that the communication between the PMO and Mr. Raja was enough to indicate that the decision-making powers were confined only to the minister, they said.

Mr. Behura said the only decision he took was about the issuance of a press note, which is now part of the CAG report.

He said he had added a paragraph in the press note to which Mr. Raja had objected.

The controversial press note issued on January 10 gave prospective applicants only 45 minutes for submitting their applications with the ministry.

The former secretary said he only carried out the decisions which the minister had taken.

During a brief interaction with Mr. Behura, some members reportedly wondered how he was not aware of the things going on in the ministry though he was the secretary for 21 months.

To this, he is believed to have contended that decisions were taken elsewhere.

Former TRAI chairman Pradeep Baijal also appeared before the Parliamentary Committee and made a power point presentation informing it about the developments during his tenure as the chairman of TRAI.

He also mentioned about the migration package and supported the government’s decision to provide cheap telephone services to the common man.

Mr. Baijal, who also was earlier Telecom Secretary, reportedly claimed that the Rs 50,000 crore loss due to migration package was settled by different parties out of court.

The two would be called again before the Committee in the coming days.

It is learnt that CAG Vinod Rai would also interact with the Committee members sometimes in January.

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