‘Raja ignored PM advice to revise fee, hold auction’ | delhi | Hindustan Times
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‘Raja ignored PM advice to revise fee, hold auction’

delhi Updated: Oct 24, 2011 00:13 IST
Harish V Nair
Harish V Nair
Hindustan Times
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The CBI court hearing the 2G scam case has said there was prima facie proof that former telecom minister A Raja had ignored Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s advice to revise the entry fee and holding of auction.

Framing charges against Raja and 16 others on Saturday, special judge OP Saini also said the entire process of grant of licences was rushed through and it smacked of conspiracy.

“No outside agency or court was asking for revision of entry fee, but being a policy matter, it was the highest in the government itself who was questioning it. And if that was the case, Raja as a minister had a duty to consider it in an appropriate manner, more so when the Prime Minister himself asked him to consider the revision of entry fee,” the court said in its 500-page judgment.

Raja has been accused by CBI of causing massive loss to the exchequer by pegging entry fee for spectrum licenses in 2008 at 2001 prices, ignoring law ministry and TRAI recommendations. The CBI alleged that Raja, by illegally advancing cut-off dates for submission of applications, gave licences to companies like Swan and Unitech, which did not meet the eligibility criteria.

“Prima facie the entire process of grant of UAS licences was rushed through and it smacks of conspiracy. The telecom ministry was bound to follow the advice or instructions of finance minister/finance secretary in matters having financial implication,” the court said.

The judge noted that besides the Prime Minister, the finance secretary — who is the custodian of India's finance and principal advisor to the finance ministry — had also urged revision of entry fee and recommended auction.