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HindustanTimes Sat,23 Aug 2014

Spectrum allocation:JPC draft report puts Airtel, Voda in a spot

Manoj Gairola, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, April 21, 2013
First Published: 23:10 IST(21/4/2013) | Last Updated: 23:11 IST(21/4/2013)

The joint parliamentary committee (JPC) draft report on 2G scam has brought more problems for Bharti Airtel and Vodafone India on the issue of additional spectrum allotment  at low spectrum fee during the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) regime.

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The report has noted: “…additional spectrum charge was deliberately undervalued to favour some telecom operators thereby causing revenue loss to the exchequer.” JPC, however, has not directly named the firms.

JPC’s findings assume importance as CBI has registered a case against Airtel and Vodafone and has charged that they were the beneficiaries of department of telecommunications’ (DoT) move on January 31, 2002, to allocate additional spectrum.

The chargesheet said that the then telecom minister and the DoT secretary showed undue haste in clearing the proposal,  bypassing the telecom commission, telecom regulatory authority of India (TRAI), member (finance) of telecom commission, and the wireless advisor.

“The unusual haste in which decision was taken in a day also appeared to be questionable. In the opinion of the committee, the whole sequence of events leading to the decision taken for allocation of additional spectrum to the operators in metro circles of Delhi and Mumbai is clear indicative of inapt handling of such a vexed issue by DoT,” according to the draft JPC report.

Both Airtel and Vodafone declined to comment.


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