Idea Cellular has claimed before the CBI the change in the first-come-first-serve (FCFS) policy by former telecom minister A Raja had an adverse impact on its position in the inter-se list of priority.
Rahul Vatts, assistant vice-president of Idea Cellular Ltd, told the CBI, while recording his statement in the 2G scam, the company had applied for the 2G licence for nine service areas in June 2006. It had also cautioned the telecommunications ministry against allocating spectrum to any operator without acting on its case.
Idea’s applications remained pending till DoT granted the Letters of Intent (LoI) on January 10, 2008. Vatts told the CBI his company had written letters to the PM and the communications minister on 14 occasions asking them to comply with the December 2005 guidelines and process the company’s applications within 30 days of applying.
He told CBI that Idea had also sent reminders to the department to maintain the seniority of the applications. However, when DOT did not reply 500 days after the company filed its application, Idea wrote to the ministry stating no spectrum should be given without acting on their case.
Vatts said he was present in Sanchar Bhawan (DoT office) on January 10, 2008 and had learnt about the distribution of LOI about 2:45 pm from his colleagues and representatives of other companies. The meeting for the LOI distribution was held at 3:30 pm. Vatts said the press release informing companies about the distribution was released on DoT website at 1:50 pm.
He further told the CBI Idea Cellular had prepared bank guarantees in anticipation of the meeting after media reports appeared on the grant of LOI. He said as Idea was first applicant in queue as per the earlier FCFS policy, its paper work was complete in time. “The documentation was prepared as per our experience of licences taken in December 2006,” Vatts said.