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CCI to seek more info from CAG on telecom spectrum auctions

Last Updated: Tuesday, May 21, 2013 - 18:46

New Delhi: The Competition Commission is likely to look into whether there was cartelisation among telecom players in the recent spectrum auctions, as has been charged by the country's top auditor.

The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has reportedly alleged that cartelisation among players during the spectrum auctions led to tepid response.

"We will ask for (more) information (on the issue) from the CAG," Competition Commission of India Chairperson Ashok Chawla said.

He said the Commission plans to look into whether the whole spectrum auction happened within the "four corners of the competition rules".

In November and March, the government had put on auction more than half of the spectrum that was freed after the Supreme Court in February last year cancelled 122 mobile permits issued by the then Telecom Minister A Raja to nine telecom companies in 2008.

The auctions got tepid response from operators and fetched the government a fraction of the amount that was projected.

CAG had in 2010 said Raja's decision to give away spectrum at rates fixed in 2001 had caused a presumptive loss of Rs 1.76 lakh crore to the exchequer taking the price garnered in the 3G auction as the benchmark.

The 2G spectrum auction, held in November 2012, had elicited tepid response and the government garnered just Rs 9,407 crore. During that time, there were no bidders for 800 Mhz radiowaves. Later the auction of spectrum in March this year too did not attract good response.

Industry blamed high base price for the spectrum for keeping away from the auctions. CAG, on the other hand, has said that it was cartelisation that kept the players away.

CCI keeps a tab on anti-competitive practices in the market place across sectors.


First Published: Tuesday, May 21, 2013 - 18:46
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