New Delhi: The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report on the allotment of 2G Spectrum licences, tabled in the Lok Sabha today, has held former Telecom Minister A Raja responsible on many fronts for violating guidelines, indulging in favouritism and costing the government Rs 1.76 lakh crores by mishandling the allocation of the 2G spectrum in 2008.
The report, bits of which had become known in the days before it was tabled, has the Opposition parties up in arms and demanding a joint parliamentary committee inquiry. Parliament has not functioned for a single day in the Winter session with the Opposition forcing adjournments.
The CAG report makes several damning conclusions about what Raja did incorrectly. On Tuesday afternoon, the auditor addressed a press conference to explain its report and to answer questions on it. Using power point presentation slides, CAG officials recounted the entire audit process and how it had reached its conclusions.
Here are some of the points made by the CAG Report:
- 85 firms suppressed facts, gave fictitious papers to DoT
- DoT kept spectrum pricing issue out of GoM's purview
- A Raja ignored Prime Minister's, FM's and Law Ministry's advice
- Spectrum was rare national asset, should have been auctioned
- 2G spectrum allocated to new players at throwaway prices
- Undue advantage to Swan Telecom in allocation of spectrum
- Email ID of Swan Telecom shown as that of a Reliance ADA group official
- Spectrum allocated beyond contracted quantity to 9 firms including Bharti, Vodafone, Idea, BSNL, Reliance, Aircel
- Idea and Spice not given spectrum on grounds of proposed merger- this was against the rules
- Allocation of 2G spectrum led to loss of Rs 1.76 lakh crore
- DoT did not follow its own practise of first-come-first-serve in letter and spirit
- Calculation of loss based on 3G auction earlier this year
- Cut-off date for license letters advanced arbitrarily by a week
- This went against time-tested procedures of government functioning
- Entire process lacked transparency
- Undertaken in arbitrary and inequitable manner
CAG on Prime Minister
'The PM had stressed on the need for a fair and transparent allocation of spectrum..... Brushing aside the advice, the Department of Telecom (DoT) in 2008 proceeded to issue licences for 2G spectrum at 2001 prices, flouting all rules and procedures'
'85 licenses were issued to companies which suppressed facts, disclosed incomplete information and submitted fictitious documents to DoT and thus used fraudulent means of getting licenses and thereby access to spectrum."