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HindustanTimes Sun,26 Oct 2014

2G auction: SC pulls up govt for casual attitude

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, November 19, 2012
First Published: 15:14 IST(19/11/2012) | Last Updated: 01:44 IST(20/11/2012)

The Supreme Court on Monday asked the government for an explanation on the allegation of not putting up the entire 2G spectrum for auction and tweaking the terms of the bid.

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A bench of justice GS Singhvi and justice KS Radhakrishnan gave two days' time to the department of telecommunication (DoT) to file a comprehensive affidavit on two issues - why the government did not put up the 900 MHz bandwidth 2G spectrum for auction and why wasn't the entire 1800 MHz bandwidth opened for the auction that took place on November 12.

According to the petitioner, only 68% of the bandwidth was auctioned.

"You come prepared for that," the court said, fixing November 26 as the next date of hearing. The bench observed withholding of even 0.1% spectrum from the auction would not be acceptable. It rejected an affidavit filed by DoT's under-secretary and told the government counsel that the next one must be filed by a secretary level officer.

The court ticked off the government for being casual. "This affidavit cannot be accepted. It has been filed by under secretary-level officer. Our earlier order said the affidavit must be filed by secretary-level officer. This is a deliberate action on the part of DoT," the bench said.

The government counsel was reminded of its earlier order in which the court had refused to accept the affidavit signed by an under-secretary. "It is unfortunate that the same mistake has been done again. Needful should be done within two days," the court ordered.

The SC had on February 2 cancelled 122 licences for 2G spectrum and directed the government to allocate the natural resource by auction.

On November 12, the government had received bids for just Rs. 9,224.75 crore on the opening day of auction for 2G spectrum services. The amount was far too less as against the government's anticipation to earn a revenue of Rs. 28,000 crore.

There was no bidder for pan-India airwaves for which the government had set a bid start price of Rs. 14,000 crore.


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