New Delhi: Hitting back at the Congress, the government on Friday said the alleged 'telecom scam' was the UPA regime's "sin" that the present dispensation has to clean and it will do "every bit to recover every single penny".
"Who was running the government between 2006-10, everyone know that... Scam is of their government. It is their sin, we will do the work of cleaning it. We will do every bit to recover every single penny," new Telecom Minister Manoj Sinha said.
The Congress yesterday alleged a staggering Rs 45,000 crore telecom scam and that Modi government was "surreptiously taking steps" to protect the interests of six leading telecom companies which owe the money to the public exchequer.
Ravi Shankar Prasad, who was earlier handling the telecom portfolio, termed Congress' allegation as "motivated and desperate", and assured that government would recover all dues along with penalty from telecom companies, without protecting anyone.
Prasad took charge as new Law Minister earlier this week.
"I condemn the charges made by Congress party...It is deplorable, motivated, malafide, desperate and baseless. I want to make it very clear that our government will not protect anyone. Whatever are the dues...They will be recovered," Prasad said.
He said government was not in the business of defending anyone. "Congress never does its homework...," he added.
Prasad pointed out that the figure of Rs 46,000 crore quoted by the Congress while levelling charges against the government was, in fact, the revenue number that was under-reported by telecom companies.
"The figure given by CAG pertains to underreporting (by telecom companies). It is not all recoverable by the government. Government is only entitled to get the licence fee and spectrum charges. Together, the licence fee and spectrum charges work out to Rs 5,200 crore, while the interest amount is Rs 7,300 crore," he said.
On the allegation that the government, instead of acting with urgency on the CAG report, chose to go for an alternate revaluation, Prasad clarified that the Telecom Ministry had asked CAG for the relevant documents so it could proceed with follow-up action.
"We asked for documents from CAG to see on what document was the underreporting established, so on that basis we can issue notices," Prasad said.
Sinha said that inefficiency of previous government was exposed by the very fact that they did not come to know that right revenue was not being realised.
The Telecom Ministry yesterday said, "CAG Report on understatement of revenue by six Telecom Service Providers by Rs 46,000 crore was received in February 2016. The report pertains to four years i.E. 2006-07 to 2009-10 which is before the tenure of this government."
"The Department received the key documents scrutinised by the CAG in mid-June 2016. These are being vigorously examined and the process of issue of demands for the four financial years for six operators in 22 license service areas in consonance with license agreement is currently ongoing," it said.
The six service providers are Bharti Airtel, Vodafone, Aircel, Reliance Communications, TATA Tele and Idea.