New Delhi: The Joint Parliamentary Committee
on 2G spectrum scam on Wednesday began examining the telecom policy
pursued during the NDA rule as it sought to know the quantum
of losses incurred during that period and decided to summon
the then Attorney General Soli Sorabjee in this connection.
At its second meeting since being set up in February, the
JPC headed by Congress leader P C Chacko went into matters
related to the telecom policy, allocation of spectrum and its
pricing between 1998 and 2008.
Telecom Secretary R Chandrashekhar, who appeared before
the 30-member Committee, gave a detailed briefing on the
issue tracing the history of the present telecom policy.
Several members raised pointed questions on the changes
in telecom policy in the NDA rule that allowed operators to
migrate from fixed license fee regime to the revenue sharing
Addressing a press conference after the meeting, Chacko
said the Comptroller and Auditor General report of 2000
clearly stated that the change in policy had caused a "huge
loss" to the exchequer.
The CAG had then expressed its inability to quantify the
losses and details of the license fees and concession offered
to operators in the wake of migration policy were not
available, he said.
"Since the figures are available now, the Committee has
directed the Telecom Secretary to quantify the losses," Chacko
Noting that the Cabinet decision of July 6, 1999 to
change the policy was based on the advise of the then Attorney
General Soli Sorabjee, the Committee has decided to call him
as a witness.
In reply to a question, Chacko said technically there was
no bar on calling Committee members as witnesses. He was
referring to BJP leaders Yashwant Sinha and Jaswant Singh, who
are members of the JPC and were part of the NDA Cabinet in
1999 when the decision was taken.
"So far we have not felt the need to call cabinet
ministers," he said.