New 2G twist: Joshi 'disfavoured' spectrum auction

New 2G twist: Joshi `disfavoured` spectrum auction New Delhi: Seeking to embarrass the BJP over 2G scam, Congress on Wednesday released a letter written by its senior leader Murli Manohar Joshi in December 2007 in which he appeared disfavouring the auction of Spectrum.

In a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on December 2, 2007, Joshi, then as Chairman of the Standing Committee on Commerce had said, "Some Operators have suggested that Spectrum should be auctioined, which means that there could a case of hoarding cartelization to the detriment of BSNL and MTNL."

Reading out the particular portion from the letter, Congress spokesperson Rashid Alvi said that it is unfortunate that while senior BJP leader Joshi had advocated against auction, his party now levels all sorts of allegations against UPA on the issue.

"It is surprising BJP says something else while a senior leader of his own party, who currently heads PAC examining the 2G issue had said something else earlier," Alvi said.

Meanwhile, quoting media reports in the letter, Joshi also said, "Leading MNCs operating in the telecom sector have launched a tirade against the allocation of Spectrum to BSNL and MTNL by Government....some private operators have been given free of cost Spectrum far in excess of their eligibility as per the licensing norms. Further, they do not have any social responsibility to fulfil."

"The media also report that after the announcement of the new policy by DOT, these private operators wish to prevent the growth of BSNL and MTNL by depriving them of Spectrum as they require. Some operators have suggested that Spectrum should be auctioned, which means there could a case of hoarding and cartelization to the detriment of MTNL and BSNL," he added.

Joshi's letter makes a strong case for the Public Sector Undertakings in the telecom sector saying they, unlike corporates, are mandated to fulfil social obligations as well.