CBI director AP Singh told the Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC) on Tuesday that the exchequer had suffered losses in 2G spectrum allocation, panel chairman Murli Manohar Joshi said at a press conference here.
The BJP leader obliquely attacked telecom minister Kapil Sibal quoting the CBI, though his party has often accused the probe agency of being partial. Sibal had reportedly said there was no loss to the exchequer, and questioned the CAG’s methodology in coming up with a presumptive loss of up to R1.76 lakh crores.
“He (CBI director) said that to say there was zero loss is wrong,” Joshi said. “But the CBI’s attention is on criminal investigation and they cannot talk about the precise quantum of loss.”
Official sources however claimed the CBI had said the figure of the loss might reach around R50,000 crore, though this could not be independently verified. The CBI’s FIR has however said that the losses could be around R22,000 crore.
Mounting another attack on Sibal, Joshi said PAC members would soon meet the Speaker to seek her guidance as to what steps could be taken to ensure that ministers do not “criticise” constitutional bodies like the CAG. Joshi explained the meeting has been planned because the Speaker’s reply to a letter by him on the said issue has been received.
Joshi added the CBI director was also asked about former telecom minister Arun Shourie’s statement, and that he replied that the agency would quiz Shourie on February 21.
Asked whether the PAC would summon Shourie too, Joshi said, “Whether Shourie would be called or not depends on his interrogation by the CBI and what information the CBI gets on that basis.”
Joshi refused to be drawn into the debate of the anticipated constitution of a JPC to probe the 2 G scam, saying, “The PAC is a constitutional body and will continue to do its work within its terms of reference. It is not affected by a JPC being there.”
Investigators want to know the exact date that TRIL is suspected to have provided around R1,500 crore to Unitech in the form of advance or commercial loan before it got unified access services (UAS) licences.
Investigators suspect the money provided by TRIL might have been used by Unitech and its seven subsidiary companies for acquiring the UAS licenses.
Unitech and its subsidiaries are also being probed for violating eligibility conditions for getting the licences — mainly that the eight subsidiaries didn’t have the required capital at the time of applying.
Six of these subsidiaries didn’t have telecom sector as their main object clause. Chandra claimed in a statement that he was not the only telecom operator who was being questioned by the CBI in the matter. He also said that he was cooperating with investigators.
Plea transfer only if CJI permits: SC
A Supreme Court bench hearing the 2G scam on Tuesday on Tuesday told the Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) to obtain permission from the Chief Justice of India to transfer their plea challenging the Dual Technology Spectrum allocation policy of the government.
A bench of Justices GS Singhvi and A K Ganguly told COAI that it could hear plea challenging the policy if only the CJI permits it.
COAI’s plea is being heard by a separate bench headed by Justice Altamas Kabir. The association wants the petition to be transferred to Justice Singhvi’s bench as it is already hearing a matter challenging the allocation of 2G spectrum.