CPM seeks probe into latest 2G spectrum allocation

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New Delhi, Nov 6 (UNI) Claiming that national exchequer had lost more than Rs 60,000 crore on account of allocation of 2G spectrum at ''a throwaway price'' to new telecom players, the CPI(M) today demanded enquiry to find out how ''a scam of this magnitude'' could be carried out.

''The manner in which the 2G spectrum was allocated by the Communications Ministry has led to a huge scandal,'' the party politburo said in a statement.

It said sale of shares by Swan Telecom and realtor Unitech, which were among those allocated 2G spectrum as fourth licencees, has clearly revealed that more than Rs. 60,000 crore has been lost to the national exchequer by giving away scarce spectrum at a fraction of the market price.

Swan Telecom, which bought licence for 13 telecom circle for Rs 1,537 crore, subsequently sold 45 per cent stake to the UAE's telecom operator Etisalat for 900 million dollars, revealing a book value of the spectrum at two billion dollars, the CPM said.

Similarly, Unitech has now sold 60 per cent of its stake to Talenor of Norway for Rs 6,120 crore, while having paid only Rs 1,651 crore as licence fee for the spectrum allocated to it, the statement said, adding that these two transactions alone have revealed a loss of Rs 10,000 crore to the exchequer.

''The government has actually got only one-sixth of what it would have got, had it gone through a fresh auction route instead of allocating spectrum at a price discovered in 2001.'' ''The total loss to the exchequer of giving away 2G GSM spectrum in this way, including to the CDMA operators, is over Rs 60,000 crore and must rank as one of the biggest financial scam of all times in the country,'' the politburo alleged.

Unitech has, however, reportedly told the government that Telenor would invest Rs 6,210 crore and subscribe to new shares in its wireless arm, and hence, its realty arm was not making any profit as a direct consequence of the partnership with the Norway-based telecom operator.

Expressing shock over the alleged scandal, the CPI(M) urged the government to either invoke fair trade practice/anti-monopoly sections, or look at other operative sections of the licence to see how this (scam) can be prevented. If no other recourse is available, it must levy a windfall tax on such speculative transactions and put in measures in the licences so that this does not recur in the future.

The politburo wanted the government to insert adequate provisions in 3G licence's terms and conditions to prevent recurrance of ''another fiasco''.

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