CBI asks TRAI to value 2G spectrum allotted between 2001-08

Posted By: Pti
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New Delhi, Feb 20 (PTI) The CBI, which is probing the 2Gspectrum scam, has sought telecom regulator TRAI''s help toascertain the loss to the government on allocation of spectrumto all operators between 2001 and 2008.

Highly placed sources in the agency said the decision toapproach TRAI was taken in view of the fluctuating estimatesof the losses to the exchequer on account of the sale ofspectrum in 2008.

"We have requested TRAI to set up an expert team whichwill go into the entire gamut of spectrum pricing and give usan estimated loss which could be proved in the court of law,"a senior official of the agency said.

Confirming the CBI''s communication, sources in TRAI saidthat it has forwarded the request to a team of experts and thereport is expected soon.

"As soon as we get the report from experts, the same willbe forwarded to the CBI," sources said.

This comes within days of TRAI recommending a pan-Indialicence fee of Rs 10,972.45 crore for 6.2 Mhz of start-upspectrum with effect from April 1, 2010, as against the Rs1,658 crore that was being paid by operators till now.

TRAI had also recommended that each Mhz of additionalspectrum held by operators should cost a one-time fee of Rs4,571.87 crore (all-India), though it would vary fromcircle-to-circle and the operators would only have to pay forthose zones where they hold extra spectrum.

The CBI had earlier said the government may have lostover Rs 22,000 crore due to irregularities in the allocationof spectrum in January, 2008, by former Telecom Minister ARaja, who was arrested earlier this month on charges offavouring some private firms.

Later, the investigating agency had estimated the loss ataround Rs 50,000 crore, as estimated by the EnforcementDirectorate.

An expert panel of Trai has valued the price of 2Gspectrum beyond the 6.2 Mhz start-up spectrum given tooperators 136 per cent higher than the auction bid for 3Gspectrum on a pan-India basis. On the other hand, the value of2G spectrum within the limit of 6.2 Mhz was 53 per cent of the3G price.

However, the CBI was unable to discern the price of 2Gspectrum allocated to telecom players between 2001 and 2008,when most of the old players like Bharti, Vodafone and Ideawere allocated spectrum.

Trai has forwarded the request for assessment of thevalue of spectrum price to its expert panel, as asked by theCBI.

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