Union Communications and Information Technology Minister A Raja has called a meeting of heads of all telecom service providers on November 3. This will be the first meeting of the minister and telecom operators after CBI raids on the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) and all private players.
While the October 26 letter from DoT to all the service providers and licence holders does not mention the agenda of the meeting, sources said this is a “confidence building exercise” by the minister.
Outside Sanchar Bhawan --- the ministry’s headquarters --- there’s panic, as CBI continued its search operations on private players that have been given licences since 2001.
Apart from spectrum-related documents, CBI officials are also investigating personal accounts of all directors of the companies, sources said.
“Our personal accounts have never been investigated in our country,” said a director of one of five companies that were issued licences in February 2008. He did not want to be identified. “We are investing billions of dollars in India and facing potential harassment.”
CBI is currently investigating whether there was any irregularity by the telecom ministry officials in giving pan-India licences to four companies. “If there was irregularity, why did the cabinet committee give its nod to the company to increase foreign direct investment by Telenor, the foreign partner, in the company last week,” said an industry observer.
In the Nov 3 meeting, the minister will face these questions from the industry. DoT secretary P.J. Thomas and other senior officials too will be present.