Vaishnaw dismisses Raja’s 5G scam charge

The former Telecom Minister questions the comparatively low auction prices for the 5G services

Updated - August 04, 2022 12:54 am IST

Published - August 03, 2022 01:08 pm IST - New Delhi

DMK MP A. Raja. File photo

DMK MP A. Raja. File photo | Photo Credit: The Hindu

Telecom Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw dismissed former Telecom Minister and DMK MP A. Raja’s suggestion that the recent auction of the 5G spectrum caused losses to the exchequer.

Mr. Raja told presspersons in New Delhi on Wednesday that the auction did not meet the expectation of up to ₹5 lakh crore, which was projected by the government. “But now the 5G has been auctioned for only ₹1.5 lakh crore. There is a huge scam in this,” Mr. Raja alleged.

“I am shocked to see this coming from a former Minister. Many bands were not sold, what was not sold remains with the government. How does that become a scam?,” Mr. Vaishnaw told The Hindu.

Clickhere to read more on the 2G Spectrum Scandal

The Minister pointed out that, of the total put on auction, the sold spectrum was valued at ₹1,50,173 crore and the unsold spectrum was valued at ₹2,81,432 crore. Spectrum bands of 600 MHz and 2300 MHz remained unsold entirely, and Mr. Vaishnaw said this was due to the weak ecosystem of mobile telephony in these segments.

“If goods worth ₹100 are put on sale, and only goods worth ₹70 are sold, what is unsold remains with the owner. Same is the case with the unsold spectrum,” he said.

Mr. Raja said when compared to 2G, the 5G bandwidth were 10 to 20 times higher in cost and efficiency. “When I recommended only 30 MHz of spectrum to the TRAI, the regulatory authority, the then CAG [Comptroller and Auditor General] Vinod Rai said ₹1.76 lakh crore loss to the government. But now 51 GHz of 5G spectrum is being sold for less amount” he said, seeking an investigation.

(With PTI inputs)

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