With figures from different sources varying widely, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Wednesday said calculation of the loss to the exchequer from the allocation of second generation (2G) spectrum depends on the methodology adopted.
He also said that in the absence of an auction, determining the actual loss was very difficult.
"The then existing policy of the government was that auctions should not take place and if auctions have not taken place then what is the basis to calculate the loss? There are various estimates but you have to assess what is the right magnitude after asking yourself what was the right price," the prime minister said at a press conference.
"CAG (Comptroller and Auditor General) itself has said that it is a presumptive loss," he added.
Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) director A.P. Singh had Tuesday told parliament's Public Accounts Committee (PAC) that it would be wrong to say there was no loss to the exchequer in the 2G spectrum scam.
This remark comes as a contradiction to the remarks of Communications Minister Kapil Sibal, who said the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) was utterly erroneous in pegging the loss at Rs.1.76 lakh crore (around $40 billion) while awarding airwaves for 2G phone services in 2008.
The minister, who was later slammed by the Supreme Court, had also said the 2G scam caused "zero loss" to the government.
Former communications minister A. Raja and two of his aides were arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in New Delhi for their role in the controversial allocation of airwaves in 2G telecom services.
Raja was forced to resign Nov 14 last year after the CAG indicted him in the spectrum allocation scam.