CBI`s 2G probe on basis of loss calculated by CVC, not CAG
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Last Updated: Sunday, November 21, 2010, 17:30
  
New Delhi: Despite the CAG quantifying the presumptive revenue loss to the exchequer at Rs 1.76 lakh crore due to non-auctioning of Spectrum, the CBI will continue to conduct its probe on the basis of the report submitted by the CVC which had pegged the loss at around Rs 22,000 crore.

CBI officials associated with the probe said on the condition of anonymity that the figures put out by the CAG in its report tabled in Parliament were too high and could not be proved in the court of law.

A prosecution in the court of law can never be done on the basis of presumption or notional value, the official said, adding there was a provision available with the CBI which entitles it to carry out its own estimate so that the agency could answer all the queries in the court.

"We are weighing all the options before proceeding towards the finality of the case. The agency has already informed the Supreme Court that the investigations in this matter would be complete by February next year," a senior CBI official said and added that the agency had to list evidences before the court and the same had to be relevant.

The CBI had registered a case last year in October against unknown officials of Department of Telecom (DoT), private persons and companies under section 120-B (criminal conspiracy) and 13(i)(d) of Prevention of Corruption Act (A public servant committing criminal misconduct by indulging in corrupt means).

The CBI alleged in its FIR that there had been serious irregularities in the award of Unified Access Services Licences to private companies.

As per information received, there was criminal conspiracy between certain officials of DoT and private persons and companies and others in order to award licences to these companies by putting a cap on the number of applicants against recommendations of Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) and by awarding licences to private companies on first-come-first-serve basis on the rates of 2001 without any competitive bidding.

The agency had carried out searches for collection of documents in the wireless planning and coordination unit and in the office of Deputy Director General (Access Services) located at Sanchar Bhawan here after the Telecom Ministry came under attack for doling out spectrum at cheap rates compared to its market value.

The anti-corruption watchdog, Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) had recommended a CBI probe into the procedures followed for selecting companies for giving 2G spectrum after allegations of irregularities were made when two of the new players -- Unitech Wireless Services and Swan Telecom -- sold part of their stake at huge premium within days of getting the licences.

In 2008, the government had issued new licences bundled with start-up 4.4 MHz spectrum at the cost of Rs 1,651 crore for pan-India operations. The existing players at that time had objected to the entry of new players and demanded that radio waves be auctioned in the market.

Apart from issuing new licences, DoT had also allowed usage of dual technology for offering mobile services, which benefited CDMA players such as Reliance Communications and Tata Teleservices.

The department also offered GSM spectrum at the price of Rs 1,651 crore for pan-India operations.

PTI


First Published: Sunday, November 21, 2010, 17:30


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