The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Tuesday quizzed Nripendra Mishra, former chairman of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), in connection with the 2G scam.
Mishra told the investigators that former telecom minister A Raja — in judicial custody —had allegedly acted against the TRAI's recommendations while determining the price of the spectrum and Unified Access Service licence at the 2001 rate, said a CBI source. Mishra also told the CBI that the Raja had allegedly advanced the cut-off date of submitting applications to September 25, 2007 from October 1, 2007 without the TRAI's approval.
Mishra's statement would allegedly help the CBI in fixing the responsibility for the irregularities on Raja, said the source.
Raja, the source added, has so far been allegedly insisting that the pricing of the allocations made by DoT in 2007/8 was made in accordance with the TRAI recommendations. The DoT had charged around R1,600 crore from the spectrum and telecom licencees which led to a loss of R22, 000 crore to the Government of India.
Mishra was at the helm of the TRAI (2006-2009) when the allocations were made by the Department of Telecommunications (DoT). Mishra was quizzed about the circumstances under which the DoT had altered the cut-off date to fix September 25, 2007, as the cut-off date .
The CBI suspects that many of the telecom licencees under its scanner were allegedly leaked crucial information about the allocations that were done on a First-Come-First-Served basis. "Most licencees had their cheques, of around R1, 600 crore, ready on January 10, 2008, when they had to pay to the DoT for the allocations within 45 minutes after getting the intimation," said the source.