PMO directs DoT to take law ministry's advice on 2G issue | india | Hindustan Times
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PMO directs DoT to take law ministry's advice on 2G issue

india Updated: Jun 29, 2010 19:09 IST

The Prime Minister's Office has directed the telecom ministry to take the law ministry's advice on matters related to allegations, complaints and court cases over allocation of 2G spectrum in 2008.

The PMO's directive follows the Department of Telecom's response to Janata Party President Subramanian Swamy's petition in the Delhi High Court last month seeking its direction to scrap the allocation of 2G spectrum to some of the new telecom companies on the ground that the procedure followed was arbitrary, illegal and against the norms.

"The response of the department has been considered in this office (PMO) and it is felt that the matter presently being sub-judice only strengthens desirability of taking law ministry’s advice," said the PMO in a letter to Telecom Secretary P J Thomas.

DoT had earlier told PMO that new licences were issued as per recommendations of the regulator TRAI, which have have brought in unlimited competition.

The DoT follows a 'First-Come-First-Serve' basis for allocating spectrum and licences. Swan (now DB Telecom), Unitech, S-Tel were among the companies that got new telecom licences.

The PMO's direction is also triggered by another similar case filed by Swamy before the Delhi High Court seeking an explanation from Prime Minister Manmohan Singh regarding why the the government did not initiate action against Telecom Minister A Raja in the alleged '2G spectrum allocation scam'.

Raja came under severe criticism for selling 2G spectrum in 2008 to some companies at a price fixed in 2001, a step that is alleged to have caused the exchequer thousands of crores of rupees.

Multiple agencies such as Central Bureau of Investigation, the Central Vigilance Commission and the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) India are investigating the allegations.

Different political parties and auditing bodies have pegged the losses between Rs 26000 and Rs 60,000 crore due to the alleged under-pricing of the spectrum.

Swamy in April had also shot off a letter to the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh demanding immediate cancellation of 2G Spectrum allotment to new entrants on the 'First Come First Served Basis' and at 2001 fixed prices.