Raja rules out resignation over spectrum allocation scam
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Last Updated: Thursday, October 22, 2009, 22:46
New Delhi: Telecom Minister A Raja on Thursday night ruled out resignation in the wake of CBI searches in his ministry in connection with the controversial spectrum allotment issue.

"The question of my resignation does not arise. All decisions on spectrum licensing have been taken in accordance with procedures laid down by TRAI and in consultations with the Prime Minister," he told reporters late in the night.

Raja said nowhere has CBI pointed out that the Minister has had a role in spectrum allotment, an issue that is alleged to have caused a revenue loss of Rs 22,000 crore to the Government.

"I stand by my reply in Parliament and I have already justified the major policy decisions," he said, adding that he did not expect the BJP or for that matter AIADMK to support him on the issue.

He was replying to a question about BJP's demand for his resignation in the wake of CBI conducting searches in the Ministry.

Earlier in the day, the CBI conducted searches in the offices of the wireless planning cell (WPC), the department responsible for allocating spectrum, and the office of Deputy Director General (Access Services).

Raja said the policy decision to issue licences to new players to bring competition in the telecom sector was taken as per the recommendation of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) dated February 27, 2007.

The licences were issued on the principle of first come first serve basis as had been followed since 1994 by all his predecessors inherited from the basic licencing conditions. The licences were issued for all operators.

So far as the licencing fee is concerned, these were termed as entry fee by Trai since there is separate spectrum licence charge.

"There was and there is a public notion that spectrum charge and licence fee are one and the same since spectrum charge is separate and licence fee was not revised by Trai in 2007 and as a matter of fact last month in the EGoM met on the 3G," he said.

Raja said that he has come to know that a case has been registered by CBI against officials of his ministry.

"For any procedural deviation or favouritism under this policy decision has to be dealt with by the investigating agency and the concerned officer will have to cooperative with the investigating officer," he said.

Raja debunked reports that there was a raid in his ministry and that officers had come only to look into "voluminous documents".

Bureau Report

First Published: Thursday, October 22, 2009, 22:46

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