‘Panel`s mandate to examine spectrum limited’

The one-man panel set up to look into the spectrum allocation processes and policies between 2001 and 2009 said its scope would be limited.

New Delhi: The one-man panel set up to look into the spectrum allocation processes and policies between 2001 and 2009 on Monday said its scope would be limited to examining procedures adopted by the Telecom Department in issuing licences and apportioning air waves.

"I am not supposed to make any investigation... I shall go by the records maintained by the Department of Telecom (DoT) and if required I can seek support of any official to examine the procedures and policies framed, their appropriateness and whether these were implemented appropriately," Justice Shivraj V Patil, who will conduct the inquiry, told reporters.

Asked whether he was authorised to question the officials or ex-ministers, he said: "No, I cannot call ex-ministers, and as far as officials are concerned I can seek information from them and it would also identify officials were responsible for lapses, if any."
"My mandate is limited to examining the internal (intra-departmental) procedures adopted by DoT during the period 2001-2009 for issue of telecom access service licences and allocation of spectrum to them during this period," he said.

The panel is expected to complete the inquiry in four to five weeks and give its report to Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal, who has been given charge of the department following A Raja resignation in view of alleged large-scale irregularities in the distribution of licences and spectrum in 2008.

The government auditor CAG has quantified revenue loss to the exchequer due to this at Rs 1.76 lakh crore.

Patil said he would see if there were deviations in the procedures and put them in the report and it would be for the Minister to consider and take appropriate action.
He also clarified that "we are not touching the matters being examined by other agencies like CBI."

The panel would also recommend what steps need to be taken to ensure that procedures were followed appropriately in the future.


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