Attorney general GE Vahanvati on Tuesday said former telecom minister A Raja had made last-minute changes in the controversial press release of January 10, 2008, which allegedly favoured some companies in the allotment of licences and 2G telecom spectrum.
In his deposition before the joint parliamentary committee (JPC), which is probing the 2G spectrum scam, Vahanvati, who was then solicitor general, said the changes were made by Raja with a different pen “betraying” his trust after he had approved the press release.
“In fact, noting by the then telecom minister A Raja that the press release has been approved as ‘amended’ was added subsequently, that too with a different pen,” JPC chief PC Chacko said, elaborating on what Vahanvati told the panel.
The controversy revolves around the press release which made crucial changes in the first-come-first-served policy to favour some companies. It also altered the cut-off date for receiving applications for allotment of licences from 1 October 2007 to 25 September.
The Supreme Court, had in February last year cancelled all 122 licences granted by the government for allocation of telecom spectrum and had declared the change in cut-off date three months after the last date had passed as “illegal”.
Vahanvati, denied having held discussions with Raja on either making changes in the policy or issuing the licences for allocation of spectrum, as has been claimed by the former minister.
He also denied having given an opinion without seeking permission from the then law minister HR Bhardwaj, saying it was merely referred to him to check facts and not to give opinion.
Vahanvati also denied any information about Bhardwaj’s view that the matter of allocation of 2G spectrum, being complicated, should be referred to an eGoM.