Even as attacks by Opposition parties became more intense regarding the alleged scam in allocation of new licences and spectrum to telecom firms, Communications and Information Technology Minister A. Raja on Tuesday reiterated that he did not favour any company, and the licence and spectrum were allotted as per laid norms and guidelines.
“Where is the question of any scam? I only followed my predecessors and carried out the entire process as per laid norms in the national telecom policy and the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India guidelines. All decisions were taken in consultation with the Prime Minister, based on the opinion of top law officers. Even the E-Group [Empowered Group] of Ministers [on telecom] cleared the entire process,” he told journalists on the sidelines of a function here.
“All my predecessors followed the same procedure. So, legally speaking, there was no deviation from laid norms and procedures. In fact, I helped in expansion of the telecom sector by giving new licences, which led to boom in mobile telephony. It was earlier believed that there should not be more operators so there was an implied stagnation or some sort of cartel. I promoted competition which led to [a] fall in tariffs. All this created some kind of storm [among established operators],” the Minister pointed out.
Referring to huge profits made by the new licensees by selling their stake to foreign promoters, Mr. Raja said there was nothing wrong in it as the sale of stakes came under the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) policy and the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) had duly approved the stake sale.
On the Opposition’s demand for his resignation in view of an ongoing investigation by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), Mr. Raja said: “Where is the question of resignation? I have done no wrong.” He, however, said, “Let the CBI investigate and if anyone is found guilty, law will take its own course.”