In a startling disclosure, Comptroller and Auditor-General Vinod Rai on Tuesday said the Department of Telecom had not furnished the relevant papers on 2G spectrum licences during 2004-2007 and hence his office could not audit accounts for that period.
Giving evidence before the Joint Parliamentary Committee, Mr. Rai said that despite reminders from his office, the DoT had not given it access to the documents on issues related to award of 2G licences from 2004 to 2007.
He was responding to questions from members why the CAG had not given any details for the period while the preface to the 2010 report mentioned that the audit covered the period from 2003 to 2009. Fifty-one licences were issued from 2004 to 2007, and 122 in 2008.
Asked how the CAG could visualise a presumptive loss on the basis of auction when the government policy stipulated only award of licences at the prices determined in 2001, Mr. Rai brought to the JPC's notice an October 2003 decision of the Cabinet.
It had said the 2G licences should be awarded keeping in view two criteria: optimum utilisation of 2G spectrum and the DoT directive that the Finance Ministry work on a formula of incentives and disincentives to telecom operators.
When it was pointed out that the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India had opposed revision of licence prices, the CAG said the TRAI decision was not endorsed by the full Telecom Commission.
Has the projection of Rs. 1.76-lakh crore presumptive loss brought down the ‘image' of the country?
Mr. Rai replied: whether its image was hit or not, the CAG had a mandate to conduct the audit.