On January 9, 2008, the Department of Telecommunications (DoT), controlled by the then telecom minister A Raja, had allegedly postponed a crucial meeting with the then finance secretary D Subbarao, now the Reserve Bank of India’s Governor, which was to decide whether spectrum should be allocated at the nominal 2001 rate or through an auction that would have fetched a better price.
A day later, on January 10, the DoT issued 122 Letters of Intent (LOIs) to applicants who were contractually entitled to “entry level spectrum” at the 2001 rate of around R1, 600 crore.This information was disclosed by Rao in his witness statement given to the CBI that is probing the 2G scam. The finance ministry, under Rao and his predecessor Ashok Jha, respectively, had since April 2007 consistently opposed the pegging of the spectrum’s price at 2001 rates and had insisted upon determining its price through an auction.
The January 9, 2008, meeting between DoT officials and Rao and his team was to occur under the auspices of the then “Telecom Commission, wherein pricing of spectrum was an agenda item,” according to Rao.
On November 22, 2007, Rao had written a letter to the then telecom secretary DS Mathur, opposing the allocation at 2001 rates. “The purpose of this letter is to confirm if proper procedure has been followed with regard to financial diligence…the ministry of finance should have been consulted in the matter before you had finalised the decisions.” Rao had, in vain, "requested" the DoT to "stay" all further spectrum allocations at the 2001 rate.
Raja & CO complain of deficient documents
Meanwhile, Raja and two corporate honchos, who have been chargesheeted in the 2G scam case, on Saturday complained to a Delhi court that documents supplied to them by the CBI was incomplete.
In an application filed before Special CBI Judge OP Saini, Raja, Unitech Wireless MD Sanjay Chandra and Swan Telecom promoter Shahid Balwa sought supply of the deficient documents along with their companies.
The CBI assured the court that the documents would be supplied by April 30.