Patil panel drags NDA, says no transparency since 2003

New Delhi, Feb 4 (PTI) Seeking to drag the earlier NDAgovernment, the one-man Committee that went into spectrumallocation from 2001 said there have been violations ofprocedures in giving 2G licences but it equally damned A Rajasaying his actions in 2007-08 were not consistent with Cabinetdecision.

Releasing excerpts of the findings of Justice ShivrajPatil Committee, Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal today announcedthat the report would be referred to the CBI which is alreadyinvestigating into the 2G scam allegedly under Raja.

The major finding of the Committee is that since 2001,the internal proceudres adopted by the Department of Telecom(DoT) and government have not been in tune with extantpolicies and directions of the government.

It has held that the decisions taken by the DoT inrespect of grant of Unified Access Service Licences (UASL),bundled with spectrum, right from 2003 onwards and includingthe actions in 2007-08, were neither consistent with thedecisions of Union Cabinet dated 2003 nor the recommendationsof telecom regulator TRAI.

On the controversial decision of Raja to advancethe cut-off date for consideration to grant licences, thecommittee found that it was neither according to proceduresnor did it meet principles of objectivity and fairness oftransparency.

"Procedure formulated whereby the processing ofapplications for grant of UASLs was restricted to only suchapplications, which were received up to 25.09.2007, when thelast date of receiving an application was stipulated as01.10.2007 is not traceable either to powers vested in termsof any procedure laid out or satisfies the requistes of law,in particular, the principles of objectivity, fairness oftransparency..." it said.

The report also did not approve of the decision to changethe procedure regarding acceptance of applications for thepurpose of FCFS basis.

"....Prior to January 7, 2008, the date of receipt ofapplication in DoT was reckoned for the purpose of FCFS andafter January 7, 2008, the date of compliance of LoI wasreckoned for the purposes of FCFS. This was also not in tunewith extant policy...," the report said.

Sibal said that all decisions taken since 2003 withregard to spectrum allocation were wrong.

To a question on Raja claiming that he had followed hispredecessors, he said "Raja has always said that he followedpast policies and past policies were themselves wrong."

The telecom regulator TRAI in its recommendations onOctober 27, 2003 said "no spectrum should be bundled withlicence and there should be multi-stage bidding for allocatingairwaves." But the Department of Telecom did not follow it,he said.

"All spectrum allocation, be it start-up 4.4 Mhz, 6.2 Mhzor additional airwaves, were wrong," he said.

"We are giving this report to the CBI, who is alreadyinvestigating into the issue... Then it is between CBI and theSupreme Court," Sibal said.

About 17 officials including past Telecom Ministersand other senior bureaucrats have been held responsible fornot following the policy in transparent manner, Sibal said butdeclined to give names. .

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