Raja did not ignore PM or FM, says court

DMK Rajya Sabha MP K. Kanimozhi arriving at Parliament House, in New Delhi on Friday.

DMK Rajya Sabha MP K. Kanimozhi arriving at Parliament House, in New Delhi on Friday.   | Photo Credit: V. Sudershan

No evidence to suggest former Union Minister overruled suggestions on entry fee or auction

The prosecution was unable to convince the special court hearing the 2G case that former Union Minister A. Raja overruled or ignored suggestions from the Finance Ministry to revise the entry fee for new licensees or go in for auction of spectrum.

“It is clear that the Ministry of Finance was not very enthusiastic about its objections regarding pricing of initial spectrum/revision of entry fee,” special judge O.P. Saini said in his verdict exonerating Mr. Raja and all others of any wrongdoing.

“Moreover, [the then] Finance Secretary admitted that after receipt of reply of DoT, they did not pursue their objections seriously. If the Finance Ministry had been serious, and Sh. A. Raja was not heeding its query for revision of entry fee, the matter must have been reported to the Cabinet Secretariat or PMO,” the judge said.

He accepted the defence contention that nowhere had the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) recommended revision or indexation of entry fee. Nor had it recommended auction of spectrum.

The judge said no witness had deposed that TRAI had recommended revision of entry fee for 2G spectrum, except Nripendra Misra, a former Secretary, Telecom, and a former TRAI Chairman. “However, his view is not supported by the contents of the Recommendations,” he said.

On the charge that Mr. Raja did not consider even the PM’s suggestion for auction, and that his reply to the Prime Minister “smacked of a conspiratorial tone”, Mr. Saini said: “I find that this reply regarding auction of 2G spectrum is in line with TRAI Recommendations as initial spectrum of 4.4+4.4 MHz is bundled with UAS licence, and in a sense represents the price of spectrum.”

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Printable version | May 25, 2020 2:32:28 PM |

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