Former Telecom Secretary D. S. Mathur on Thursday told a Delhi court that former Telecom Minister A Raja had “ordered” issuance of letter of intents (LoIs) to the telecom firms which had applied for 2G licences by September 25, 2007.
Mr. Mathur’s statement assumes significance as the CBI had alleged that Mr. Raja, in collusion with others, had decided to keep September 25, 2007 as the cut-off date for considering applications for Unified Access Services Licence (UASL) to “wrongly benefit” Unitech Ltd MD Sanjay Chandra and Swan Telecom promoters Shahid Balwa and Vinod Goenka -- all facing trial in the case.
Mr. Mathur, a key prosecution witness in the case, said Mr. Raja’s order came on a November 2, 2007 note of the Department of Telecom (DoT) which was initiated by the then DoT Director Nitin Jain.
“This note was initiated by Nitin Jain and was put up to DDG (AS) A K Srivastava, who put it up to Member (T). On this note, the then minister A Raja ordered that LoIs be issued to applicants whose applications were received upto September 25, 2007. He (Raja) started his note by recording ‘approved’,” Mr. Mathur told Special CBI Judge O P Saini.
During his cross examination, Mr. Mathur denied that the order by Mr. Raja in this regard was “merely” an approval.
“It is wrong to suggest that this was not an order of the minister and was merely an approval,” he said, adding, that availability of spectrum was also being considered while deciding the pending applications for UASL.
He also denied that he had not told Mr. Raja that fixing of the cut-off date may be “considered arbitrary and may give rise to legal complications.”
Mr. Mathur had earlier said that Mr. Raja had decided to advance the cut-off date to September 25, 2007 without having any “reasonable justification”.
Keywords: 2G spectrum case