Facing allegations that it was a major beneficiary of the 2G spectrum allocation, Tata Teleservices Ltd (TTSL) today welcomed the Supreme Court decision to take the probe right back to 2001.
"We welcome the directive of Supreme Court (SC) to take the 2G spectrum allocation probe right back to 2001, so that a holistic picture of spectrum allocation emerges, including allocation and how some operators have disproportionate benefits of excess spectrum," TTSL spokesperson said in a statement.
Earlier in the day, continuing his war of words with Ratan Tata, Rajya Sabha MP Rajeev Chandrasekhar alleged that contrary to claims of probity, the Tata group got spectrum allocated out of turn through change in policy to allow dual technology.
He was responding to a recent letter by Tata, who alleged that Chandrasekhar was acting at the behest of some political interests to embarrass Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the government, and was lobbying for a change in telecom policy that helped big GSM players.
Chandrasekhar also questioned former telecom regulator Pradeep Baijal's role in benefiting Tatas. Further, TTSL said, "We welcome the Apex Court's decision to include the review of the dual-technology policy and its administration, and sincerely hope this would bring about a level-playing field between various operators in the telecom space."
It said TTSL was "the first legitimate applicant post the announcement of the policy by the Government, which was open to all existing operators," The SC bench comprising justices G S Singhvi and A K Ganguly made it clear that the emphasis of the investigation would be to determine the loss of money to the public exchequer and said a progress report on the probe has to be filed by the CBI and Enforcement Directorate in a sealed cover on the next date of hearing on February 10, 2011.
Yesterday, the CBI raided 34 premises including those of corporate lobbyist Niira Radia, former TRAI Chairman Pradip Baijal, siblings of ex-Telecom Minister A Raja and an NGO linked to DMK MP Kanimozhi in the case relating to allocation of 2G spectrum at throwaway prices in 2008.
The government auditor CAG and CVC had prima facie found irregularities in the allocation of radio waves in 2008 and the potential revenue lost due to selling spectrum at 2001 rates was pegged at Rs 1.76 lakh crore.