New Delhi: With fingers being pointed at him for the delay in BSNL’s mobile network expansion plan, Telecom Minister A. Raja on Friday sought to put things in perspective.

He said allegations regarding bidders and pricing left him with no option but to seek clarifications on the tender.

In a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh he said: “The finalisation of the GSM tender was unusually delayed due to a pending court case filed by U.S. major Motorola in the High Court of Delhi.

“Immediately after my taking over as Minister, I received a number of complaints from various quarters, including MPs, alleging that BSNL was going to place an order at a rate much higher than the prevailing rate and the rate at which Motorola is providing to another PSU MTNL.”

BSNL had selected Ericsson and Nokia-Siemens for deploying 45.5 million additional lines in its GSM network.

The telecom PSU had earlier disqualified Motorola on technical grounds.

Terming this and disqualification of some of the bidders from the tendering process as events of a “serious nature,” Mr. Raja said: “I was left with no option but to ask for clarifications coupled with suggestions to remove the doubts.”

Staff threaten stir

Dissatisfied with the decision to curtail the size of the GSM contract and omission of the 3G portion, BSNL employees union threatened to go on an indefinite strike demanding reconsideration of these issues. — PTI