Murli Manohar Joshi rejects Cong charge



New Delhi: Facing Congress attack over his December 2007 letter, BJP leader Murli Manohar Joshi on Thursday rejected the allegation that he disfavoured auction of 2G spectrum, saying that he only wanted that PSUs like MTNL and BSNL were not losers.

Joshi, as Chairman of Parliamentary Standing Committee on Commerce, had written to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on December 2, 2007, quoting media reports on MNCs "launching a tirade against allocation of spectrum" to BSNL and MTNL.

"These private operators wish to prevent growth of BSNL and MTNL by depriving them of spectrum, that they require. Some operators have suggested that spectrum should be auctioned which means that there could be a case of hoarding and cartelisation to the detriment of MTNL and BSNL," Joshi states in the letter.

However, Joshi denied that his letter states he was against auction. He insisted that his opinion did not matter and the issue was why the government did not go for auction and gave away spectrum at 2001 prices.

"I was never in agreement with P Chidambaram (then Finance Minister).... I was talking about the issue of increasing tele density in rural areas," Joshi told reporters.

Quoting from his letter, he further said, "I would, therefore, request you (PM) to protect the interests of our PSUs, and the interests of the genuine players. Perhaps, this can be achieved by ensuring a level playing field through a licensing policy which earns revenue to the government..."

Joshi said that this was not done and neither was the original source of money revealed by those who got the licences.

PTI