The Supreme Court on Wednesday took exception to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) report that there was no loss caused to the government in the controversial allocation of 2G spectrum licences to new telecom operators.
“Everything should have been left to the court to decide,” a bench of justices GS Singhvi and AK Ganguly, which is monitoring the probe into the 2G-spectrum scam, said.
“We are surprised over the communication. It (TRAI) was created as an autonomous regulator. It is a serious debatable issue… what they have done and stated in recent days,” the bench said during arguments Janata Party chief Subramanian Swamy’s plea for probing the role of P Chidambaram in the scam.
“We will reserve our observation but this has surprised us,” the bench said, adding it did not want to prejudice anybody’s case.
Special Judge OP Saini, who was to pronounce order on framing of charges on September 15, deferred it after the accused raised the issue of TRAI report that talked of zero loss in 2G-spectrum allocation.
The trial judge on Wednesday took on record the law ministry’s opinion on the definition of “associate” company, which has a direct bearing on CBI’s case against Swan Telecom and Loop Telecom.
CBI has already sought a review from the telecom regulator pointing out the records where the TRAI had recommended policy prescriptions favouring a multi-stage market based bidding or auctioning system for grant of licence and scarce telecommunication spectrum on at least seven occasions since 2003.
Swamy said Chidambaram as the then finance minister was party to the conspiracy with Raja in deciding the price for spectrum. The Centre and CBI have opposed his plea saying it should be left to a trial judge. Arguments will continue on Thursday.
CBI counsel KK Venugopal expressed concern over the TRAI report, saying, “It’s a matter of concern. We haven’t accepted the report. Anybody (accused in the scam) can take advantage of it.”
The bench took a dig at the probe agency for the delay in filing status reports of the probe against Dayanidhi Maran and Loop.