Maran said pricing DoT’s job,says TRAI chairman

Telecom Regulatory Authority of India chairman J S Sarma,who appeared before the Joint Parliamentary Committee looking into the 2G case

Written by Express News Service | New Delhi | Published: February 23, 2012 4:05:37 am

Telecom Regulatory Authority of India chairman J S Sarma,who on Wednesday appeared before the Joint Parliamentary Committee looking into the 2G case,said that as the matter of amending the Terms of Reference was being dealt with at the highest level,he could not take any stand of his own.

“While pointing out that the minister (Dayanidhi Maran) wrote three letters to the Prime Minister for keeping spectrum pricing out of the Terms of Reference,the committee wanted to know as to what was the stand taken by the witness as Secretary,DoT,” JPC chairman P C Chacko told the media. Sarma,who was Department of Telecom Secretary between July 2005 and July 2006,told the committee that the then minister,Dayanidhi Maran,held a firm view that spectrum pricing was part of the normal functioning of the DoT. The Terms of Reference were revised on December 7,2006 when Maran was heading the Telecom ministry and P Chidambaram was Finance Minister.

To verify Sarma’s statement and to find out whether the three letters written by Maran to the PM were a suo-motu move or part of a collective decision of the DoT,the JPC has sought the original file on the issue from the department.

Asked if Sarma was aware of a 2003 Cabinet decision that any decision on spectrum pricing had to be taken jointly by the DoT and the Finance Ministry,Chacko responded: “He should have been aware of that.”

Day’s exemption to Ruias,Khaitans from personal appearance

Four accused in the Essar-Loop case were on Wednesday granted a day’s exemption from personal appearance by the court hearing the 2G spectrum cases as lawyers moved applications in their absence. Essar Group’s Ravi Kant Ruia and Anshuman Ruia and Loop Telecom promoters I P Khaitan and Kiran Khaitan did not appear in court in response to summons. The next hearing is on March 17.

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