PM Manmohan Singh on Saturday met senior cabinet colleagues and top officials to discuss the fallout of the Supreme Court’s judgment quashing 122 telecom licences and ordering auction of 2G spectrum granted in 2008.
“This was a preliminary meeting where everybody wanted to understand the judgment. We have to now sit down with a fine toothcomb and understand the implication. There is no need for the panic in the market,” said a government source.
Finance minister Paranab Mukherjee, home minister P Chidambaram, telecom minister Kapil Sibal and law minister Salman Khurshid, Attorney General GE Vahanvati and telecom secretary R Chandrashekhar attended the meeting.
“The PM discussed the impact of the verdict on various sectors where the policy of first-come-first-served (FCFS) is followed and on overall policy making by the government,” said another source.
The SC, in its February 2 judgment, had termed the FCFS — in which the applicant standing first in the queue gets the first claim of the use of a resource — as “fundamentally flawed” with inherently dangerous implications.
“This meeting was to inform senior ministers on possible implications and ramifications of the judgement,” said Sibal after the meeting. Chandrashekhar gave a full presentation on the judgment and its implications pointing out that all 122 licensees will have to vacate spectrum by June 2.
DoT will begin a formal auction process of 2G spectrum (radio spectrum) allocation after sector watchdog TRAI gives its recommendations. The 2G telecom spectrum scam is arguably the most high-profile corruption case in Indian history — valued at as much as R176,000 crore by CAG — in which former telecom minister A Raja, a former secretary S Behura are in Tihar jail.