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SC singles out Raja,says officers were cowed down

The Supreme Court highlights seven instances of impropriety

Written by Krishnadas Rajagopal | New Delhi | Published: February 3, 2012 12:13:24 am

More than any government department,officials or agencies,nobody comes for more strident criticism and indictment in the SC order than former telecom minister A Raja. Holding him as the pivot of the scam,the Supreme Court highlights seven instances of impropriety:

* Soon after his appointment as telecom minister,he directed that all the applications received for grant of UAS licences be kept pending till the receipt of TRAI recommendations.

* He did not place the recommendations made by TRAI on August 28,2007 before the full Telecom Commission which,among others,would have included the Finance Secretary. “Even the notice of meeting was not given to any of the non-permanent members despite the fact that the recommendations made by TRAI for allocation of spectrum in 2G bands (800,900 and 1800 Mhz) had serious financial implications,” the court said.

* Officers of DoT were cowed down by their minister into approving the FCFS recommendations made by TRAI. “If they had not done so,they would have incurred the wrath of the minister,” the court said.

* The Finance Ministry was not in the know as no discussions on the issue of spectrum allocation was held with it despite Raja knowing that the Secretary,Finance,had objected to the allocation of 2G spectrum at the rates fixed in 2001.

* The law ministry’s opinion to place the matter of spectrum allocation before an Empowered Group of Ministers and consult the Attorney General was “brushed aside” by him. Even the PM’s suggestion to ensure fairness and transparency in the allocation of the scarce resource in the light of large number of licence applications was not heeded to,the court observed.

* That he advanced the cut-off date to September 25,2007 from October 1,that too as late as in January 1,2008 after the applications were received.

* That the grant of Letters of Intent to the applicants on January 10,2008 “leaves no room for doubt that everything was stage managed to favour those who were able to know in advance change in the implementation of the first-come-first served principle”.

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