After six months of probe into the 2G spectrum scam during Telecom Minister A Raja's last regime, the CBI is all set to examine the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India's role into the allotments. Sources said the agency was seriously exploring the possibility to look into the conduct of some TRAI functionaries too.
"The circumstances in which the allotment of telecom licenses were allowed on the first-come-first serve basis in 2008 at the prices fixed in 2001 were also a matter of probe," said a government source.
The agency has, meanwhile, gathered "credible leads" showing that some of the decisions taken by the Telecom Ministry were not in order. The CBI, after almost six months of probe into the scam and minute examination of telecom ministry records, has zeroed in on some of the decisions on file that prima facie looked "arbitrary".
Raja, however, has all along denied the allegations and ruled out any irregularity in the spectrum allotments. The 2G (second generation) spectrum is a scarce natural resource essential for providing quality mobile telephony service and data services for mobile -- starting with SMS text messages.
While CBI officials remained tight-lipped even a day after the issue of phone tapping of PR lobbyist Niira Radia rocked the Parliament on Wednesday, the source said the agency had already identified some private companies that were allegedly favoured during the course of the 2G spectrum allotments.
"The investigations so far has revealed that there could be a serious case of favouritism and misuse of official position by some DoT functionaries in the spectrum allotment," he added.
On the alleged phone tapping issue, a CBI source said: "Since the I-T Department had some information relating to the issue, we thought the same could help in the investigations."
The CBI had registered an FIR into the scam on the orders of the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) more than six months ago. The CBI probe was recommended after the CVC found serious irregularities in the allotments.
Some companies, such as Swan and Unitech, which had offloaded their major shares at whopping prices to foreign companies within a few months after the licences were awarded to them are also under the agency's radar. In March last, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) had also registered a case against some unknown persons on charges of money laundering.