Govt decided on inviting limited bidders: Former Trai chief

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2G Scam
New Delhi, May 16: A former chief of TRAI today told a Parliamentary panel that the decision to invite limited bidders for the telecom regime change in 1999 was taken by the government and the regulator had no role in it.

SS Sodhi appeared before the Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) looking into the 2G issue where he was asked questions about the migration package offered by the then NDA government.

Sources in the committee said Sodhi indicated that TRAI had no role inviting only limited bidders for the package and it was the government which decided on it.

Under the package, the regime changed from fixed licence fee to revenue sharing.

He is learnt to have said that the government thought that others could be invited at a later stage and accepted limited bidders for the sake of expansion of the telecom sector.

Sodhi, who headed TRAI from March 1997 to January 2000, is also learnt to have said that the government had not taken kindly some of the recommendations of the regulator.

The Department of Telecommunications had recently told the JPC that the national exchequer incurred a loss of over Rs 43,500 crore during the NDA government due to the migration package offered to cellular operators in 1999.

PTI

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