2G case: Facts one should know

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The on-going investigations into the multi-crore 2G spectrum scam saw several twists on Tuesday. The Supreme Court asked the CBI to submit records relating to alleged attempts to seek a reopening of 2G spectrum scam trial that is nearing completion.

Also, the Central investigating agency told the apex court that it has begun a fresh inquiry against Tata Realty-Unitech land deal worth Rs 1,700 crore of 2007. The apex court also asked for the CBI records of its probe against Anil Ambani-owned Reliance Telecom and Shahid Balwa's Swan Telecom.

What is 2G scam?

  • The issue dates to 2008 when the Government of India issued scarce airwaves and 2G licences to nine private telecom companies at throwaway prices. 
  • As per the CAG report it led to the loss of Rs 1.76 lakh crore to the State exchequer. 
  • The CAG also said Rules and procedures were also bent while issuing licenses.
  • As many as 122 circle-wise licences were issued.

The case resulted in the arrest of former Telecom Minister A Raja and DMK MP Kanimozhi and 12 others.

What are charges against then Telecom Minister A Raja?

  • In 2008, 122 new 2G licences were given to telecom companies at a price set in 2001.
  • Licenses were issued on a first-come-first-served basis.
  • No proper auction process followed, no bids invited
  • Telecom Minister ignored advice of TRAI which had recommended auctioning of spectrum at market rates.
  • Private companies like Unitech, Swan Telecom got licenses without any prior experience.
  • Swan Telecom did not meet eligibility criteria, but still managed to get licence for Rs 1537 crore.
  • Swan Telecom later sold 45% stake to Etisalat for Rs. 4200 crore.
  • Unitech got license for Rs. 1661 crore and sold 60% stake for Rs. 6200 crore

What is 2G spectrum?

2G is second generation wireless telephone technology. 2G is much more better than its predecessors in three ways, here phone conservations are digitally encrypted; 2G systems are far more efficient on the spectrum allowing for greater mobile phone penetration levels; it introduces data services for mobiles.

Who all in the net?

A Raja: He is believed to have received Rs.3,000 crore as bribe to bring forward the cut-off date for applications from the initial October 1, 2007, to September 25, 2007. He was arrested on May 9, 2012.

Kanimozhi: DMK MP and daughter of M Karunanidhi's daughter Kanimozhi was named by the CBI as a co- conspirator with A Raja. The CBI alleges that she helped with Raja to get DB Realty promoter Shahid Balwa to circuitously route Rs.200 crore to Kalaignar TV.

Shahid Balwa: The promoter of Swan Telecom is alleged to have played a key role in 2G scam. He is accused of colluding with Raja by allegedly channelising kickbacks Raja got from the spectrum sale into the real estate.

Siddharth Behura: Former Telecom Secretary Siddharth Behura is accused of having conspired with Raja. The CBI alleges Behura shut counters to physically block other telecom companies.

RK Chandolia: Raja's private secretary RK Chandolia reprotedly conspired with Behura to shut the counters.

Unitech chief Sanjay Chandra and DB Realty founder Vinod Goenka who have been chargesheeted for cheating and conspiracy.

Three senior executives of Anil Ambani controlled ADAG, Gautam Doshi, Hari Nair and Surendra Pipara.

Supreme Court quashed 2G licences

The Supreme Court on February, 20, 2012 declared the allotment of spectrum as "unconstitutional and arbitrary". The apex court quashed all 122 licences issued Raja and imposed Rs 50 million fine on Unitech, Swan and Tata Teleservices.

Janata Party leader Subramanian Swamy filed a petition in the Supreme Court seeking its intervention in giving directions to the probe agencies to act against the culprits.

Following that, the apex court decided to monitor the probe itself that was being conducted by different agencies like the CBI and the Enforcement Directorate.

JPC on 2G scam

The Government constitute a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) on February 2011 to probe 2G scam. It is headed by PC Chacko.

Chacko submitted the report on October 29, 2013 after the parliamentary committee inquired into the scam for 19 months.

The report exonerated then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and former Finance Minister P Chidambaram of any wrongdoing and blamed A Raja for the faulty allocation of spectrum.

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