BJP criticises PM for defending Raja in Spectrum scam
Describing the 2-G Spectrum allocation controversy as the biggest scam in independent India, BJP today criticised Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for defending Telecom Minister A Raja while the investigations are still on.india Updated: Oct 26, 2009 19:30 IST
Describing the 2-G Spectrum allocation controversy as the biggest scam in independent India, BJP on Monday criticised Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for defending Telecom Minister A Raja while the investigations are still on.
"Even as the investigations are going on and the accusing finger categorically points to the Telecommunication Minister A Raja, the Prime Minister has today made a statement that the allegations against him were not correct," Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley said, terming the incident as the biggest scam in Independent India.
He also took a dig at the Prime Minister for stating that "whatever the opposition says is not always correct".
The BJP leader was critical of Singh's reply to a question on Raja's contention that the Prime Minister was in the loop about the decisions taken in regard to spectrum allocation.
Singh had said he would not like to join issue with his cabinet colleague in public.
"Obviously, the Prime Minister is no position to agree or disagree," Jaitley said.
The senior BJP leader alleged that "rules of the game were changed" in 2007 when applications for spectrum allocation were invited.
"When applications were invited with October 1, 2007 as the deadline, an artificial cut-off date of September 25, 2007 was created and applications received between September 25 and October 1 were summarily rejected," Jaitley claimed.
Jaitley accused Raja of working hand in glove with some real estate companies who bagged the 2-G contracts.
"All friendly applicants, mostly real estate companies, had been advised to put in their applications on or before October 25, 2007. This is not the Opposition's charge as the Prime Minister has commented. It is now a judgement of the Delhi High Court," he said.
The High Court has quashed the fixation of these cut-off date where-in many experienced players were left out and nine licenses were issued to inexperienced parties.
Jaitley said the price of Rs 1,650 crore per operator was not fixed at the 2007 market-price but at the 2001 price. "The Minister's contention that the TRAI had recommended this is wholly erroneous because the TRAI had recommended that the entry fee determined in 2001 is not the realistic price for obtaining the license," he said.
TRAI had suggested re-assessment through a market-mechanism.
Jaitley said those who got the contract did not operate the service and sold it to international players.
"The allotees did not operate the service. All that they owned was a shell company and a guaranteed spectrum. They availed the 74 per cent FDI policy of the government and found buyers/ joint venture partners from the international market," he said.
The companies were overnight valued at over Rs 9,000 crore and sold by the owners at this rate, Jaitley said.