Not aware of methods used in FCFS spectrum allocation: PM

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New Delhi, Feb 16 (ANI): Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh on Wednesday said that he was not aware of the methodology of the controversial First-Come, First-Serve (FCFS) policy followed for 2G spectrum allocation by former Telecom Minister A Raja.

During his interaction with top television editors of the country on Wednesday, Dr. Singh said: "Who got the licences... how FCFS was implemented, this was never discussed with me nor was it brought to the Cabinet. This was exclusively Telecom Minister's decision."

He, however, said that since the Ministries of Finance and Telecom had agreed to continue with the existing policy of allocating 2G spectrum, "I did not feel that I was in a position to insist that auction must be insisted."

On retaining Raja as the Telecom Minister in the UPA-II, Dr Singh said in a coalition government, the choices of the Leaders of the Alliance partners have to accepted and that the DMK had suggested Raja and Dayanidhi Maran into the Union Cabinet.

" At that moment, there was no reason to feel that anything wrong had been done", Dr. Singh said.

He said Raja has assured him of complete transparency in the allocation of 2G spectrum.

"I wrote a letter to Raja on Nov 2, 2007. I listed a number of issues that you must look into and ensure they are dealt with in an equitable, fair and transparent manner. One of the issues that I asked him to look into was the possibility from the legal and technical angle of having an auction of spectrum," he said.

"He wrote back to me on the same day saying I had been absolutely transparent in dealings I will be so in the future and you have my assurance that I have done nothing and I will do nothing that will be consistent to the promise that I have made to you," Dr. Singh added.

Dr. Singh further said Raja told him that the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) had said auctions would not give a level-playing field for new players. And that the existing approach worked better.

He said he did not press further after the ministries of Telecom and Finance agreed to go by the prevailing system of first-come first-served basis.

A. Raja was forced to resign from the Union Cabinet last year after the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) faulted him for undervaluing spectrum to favour companies who were largely ineligible for 2G spectrum, and added that the government had probably lost Rs.1.76 lakh crore in estimated revenue. (ANI)

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