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Updated: March 26, 2011 16:42 IST

“Report does not single out Raja”

Sandeep Joshi
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Deputy CAG Rekha Gupta and Director-General of Audit (P&T) R.P. Singh addressing a press conference in New Delhi on Tuesday after the tabling of 2G spectrum report in Parliament. Photo: Shiv Kumar Pushpakar
The Hindu Deputy CAG Rekha Gupta and Director-General of Audit (P&T) R.P. Singh addressing a press conference in New Delhi on Tuesday after the tabling of 2G spectrum report in Parliament. Photo: Shiv Kumar Pushpakar

While the report of the Comptroller and Auditor-General of India (CAG) on 2G spectrum allocation shows how the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) blatantly favoured at least a dozen companies, including some of the country's big industrial houses, it fails to name any top telecom official for the “lapses.”

While addressing journalists here on Tuesday, Deputy CAG Rekha Gupta denied that the report singled out the former Communications and Information Technology Minister, A. Raja. “We have written [the report] on the basis of whatever record has come to us... We have not given a clean chit to anyone,” she said when asked if the report was focused just on Mr. Raja.

The CAG report says DoT not only favoured the Anil Ambani led-Reliance Communications while granting licences, it also sided with existing operators such as Bharti Airtel and Vodafone-Essar by giving them additional spectrum at throw-away prices.

Out of 122 licences issued in 2008, 85 went to companies that were not eligible, while nine real estate companies misrepresented facts to get the spectrum. These include Unitech Infrastructure, Unitech Builders and Estates, Azare Properties, Aska Projects, Volga Properties (all belonging to the Unitech Group), Shipping Stop Dotcom Pvt Ltd (now Loop Telecom), Allianz Infratech (which later merged with Etisalat DB Telecom), Swan Telecom (now Etisalat DB Telecom), Datacom Solutions (now Videocon Telecommunications) and S Tel.

“These licences were issued to companies which did not have the stipulated paid up capital at the time of application. Further, 45 of these 85 licences were issued to companies who failed to satisfy conditions of main object clause,” the report said.

Similarly, in case of the Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group, the CAG report said, at the time of applying for the licence, the equity stakes of Reliance Telecom Ltd. (RTL) in Swan Telecom was 10.71 per cent, which was against the rules. “It would appear that Swan Telecom, while applying for the UAS [unified access service] licences in 13 service areas, was acting as a front company on behalf of RTL and their application was, in effect, against the intent and spirit of the UAS licensing guidelines,” it added.

Then, the process of giving dual technology licence to Reliance Communications “lacked transparency and fairness,” and equal opportunity was denied to other similarly placed operators, including Tata Teleservices, which could apply for use of dual technology only after formal announcement of the policy.

On the issue of spectrum allocation to existing operators beyond the contracted quantity of 6.2 MHz, CAG has found Bharti Airtel to be the biggest beneficiary, among private players, with 32.4 MHz, followed by Vodafone-Essar with 19.6 MHz, Idea 12.6 MHz, and Aircel 3.6 MHz. Where the government could have earned over Rs.36,993 crore from its sale at market value, the exchequer got just Rs.2,561 crore.

Meanwhile, Ms. Gupta said the figure of Rs.1.76 lakh crore was reached on the basis of the 3G auction held earlier this year, in which the government mopped up over Rs.67,000 crore. “The quantum of loss is presumptive, we have only tried to quantify the loss,” she added. Asked whether licences allotted to ineligible players should be cancelled, Ms. Gupta said: “It is for the Public Accounts Committee to recommend and the government to decide.”

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It's not even a month since Mr.Obama pointed out that "India's growth is not despite it's democracy but because of it's democracy". But the recent happenings starting from commonwealth followed by Adarsh scam continuing with 2G corruption poses a serious threat to the belief that every single citizen has on this so called world's largest democracy. As our country is well known for being generous to all these corruption big shots, these things are meant to continue. Who cares for all those rat eating farmers, starvation deaths, malnutrition children? Atleast we can boast of ourselves that we are not a poor country any more looking at the volume of the money involved in these scams.

from:  Kumar Shanmugam
Posted on: Nov 18, 2010 at 03:30 IST

It is obvious that the CAG has is not doing the auditing function alone ; details of where and how deviations have been made on policy and rules and procedures, are being cited in the report and in the press meets that are organised, by the CAG.The CAG report mentions the names of the parties also, in black and white. The CAG seems to be acting very fairly and independently and perhaps deserves the title,"Fourth Pillar of Democracy" better than the media that is seen to be biased,now-a-days with their political leanings / paid news complaints etc.,.

from:  MSVenkataraman
Posted on: Nov 18, 2010 at 02:47 IST

It is obvious that the CAG has is not doing the auditing function alone; details of where and how deviations have been made on policy and rules and procedures, are being cited in the report and in the press meets that are organised, by the CAG.The CAG report mentions the names of the parties also, in black and white. The CAG seems to be acting very fairly and independently and perhaps deserves the title,"Fourth Pillar of Democracy" better than the media that is seen to be biased,now-a-days with their political leanings / paid news complaints etc.

from:  MSVenkataraman
Posted on: Nov 18, 2010 at 02:47 IST

It is clear as daylight that Raja swindled the nation out of billions of dollars of national wealth. As a representative of the people and a minister his responsibility was to do what is right for the nation, that is get the maximum revenue for the spectrum sales. Instead, he has very obviously enriched himself. He is only one among the hundreds of thousands of so-called public servants who have looted national wealth in the past four decades. What is more audacious is their boldness that they couldn't be caught.

from:  bp
Posted on: Nov 18, 2010 at 01:42 IST

After seeing,hearing and reading, all these news, I felt sorry that nobody want to see the basic point of why all these charges arising out of their duties concerned. Whether they are good or bad, common or political people. Every body thought of money,running after money,by sacrificing their good character and social response. All are lagging with their self discipline and the theory of life. If at all, all individuals feel themselves and change their mind character and lifestyle, nothing can be done to improve our economy and our Nation. At this time we all should stand together and take immediate action over the wrong doers on any account. So that a strict governance by all means is required now.No use of inactive in their work style and self thought in their moves. This will spoil not only their fame but also the society and Nation.There is of no use unless we eradicate the wrong doers immediately by all means.The country lost it's character. Immediately we should boost our moral standard in all our walks of our life. I know everybody knows about this.A strong action against the wrong doers, whatsoever their political lean or anything they should be erdicated in this Society by all mesans. Let us forget money and think about our moral standards. we all will live with peace and harmony.This country needs now a good charactered, strong minded, straight forward and brave hearted selfless leader.

from:  V. Natarajan.
Posted on: Nov 17, 2010 at 08:22 IST

An auditor or an auditing agency examines the financial accounts of an organisation to certify the accuracy of the accounts and adherence of the organisation to standard financial norms and special norms if any legally applicable to its finanancial management. Its reports are on procedures adopted by the organisation and the accuracy of its accounts. It has no authority to determine who in the organisation is responsible for the defects if any in its financial management. Moreover the auditor's report is not final and the organisation can clarify matters and request the auditor to reconsider its report. Many oppositon politicians and large sections of the media are either ignorant of this fact or are delberately ignoring it to acieve a political purpose.

from:  K.Vijayakumar
Posted on: Nov 17, 2010 at 07:31 IST

India has been used to this type of corruption.The Congress is always charged with corruption. But the accused always escapes. No worthwhile inquiry and no action have been formulated to put them before the law. It is merely a political game.

from:  bhaskaran k k
Posted on: Nov 17, 2010 at 06:59 IST
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