Spectrum: Raja under fire as BJP,Left demand probehttps://indianexpress.com/article/news-archive/web/spectrum-raja-under-fire-as-bjp-left-demand-probe/

Spectrum: Raja under fire as BJP,Left demand probe

In a rare show of unity,BJP and Left members walked out of the Rajya Sabha in protest against what they termed an unsatisfactory....

In a rare show of unity,BJP and Left members walked out of the Rajya Sabha in protest against what they termed an unsatisfactory reply by Telecom Minister A Raja on the controversy surrounding 2G Spectrum allocation.

Leader of Opposition Arun Jaitley called the Spectrum allocation process a “monumental scam”. Left leaders including Brinda Karat,who along with Jaitley,were demanding a probe by the Joint Parliamentary Committee,also staged a walkout as Raja refused to yield to the demand.

The Opposition members,including Jaitley and CPM’s Sitaram Yechury,had been alleging that Spectrum allocation had been made at throwaway prices to companies leading to losses worth several thousand crore rupees to the exchequer.

Telecom Minister A Raja,however,put the onus of revising the entry fee for telecom licences on telecom regulator,TRAI. “If TRAI tomorrow comes with a new entry fee,we will have no problem. It can suo motu look into the hike in the entry fee,” he said.

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Defending the policy of giving licences without auctioning Spectrum,Raja said the rules have resulted in higher tele-density and huge revenue for the Government. “We have so far collected Rs 68,000 crore. In 2007-08 alone the Government got Rs 23,000 crore,” he said.

Jaitley accused him of “skirting core issue” whether the prescribed Rs 1,651 crore license fee was a fair value and described the episode as “huge monumental scam” before leading a walkout. Last year,Unitech and Swan — after bagging the licences for Rs 1,651 crore each — sold stakes to foreign partners at huge premium leading to an outcry over alleged under-valuation of Spectrum.