Raja ignored PM's advice, complained against law minister
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's clear instructions for the auction of 2G spectrum were flouted by former telecom minister A Raja in 2007, who also slammed the law ministry for recommending the matter be sent to an empowered group of ministers. Gaurav Choudhury & Nagendar Sharma report. How Raja steamrolled Govt's suggestionsdelhi Updated: Nov 19, 2010 02:05 IST
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's clear instructions for the auction of 2G spectrum were flouted by former telecom minister A Raja in 2007, who also slammed the law ministry for recommending the matter be sent to an empowered group of ministers (eGoM).
"In order that spectrum use efficiency gets directly linked to correct pricing of spectrum, consider introduction of a transparent methodology of auction wherever legally and technically feasible and revision of entry fee, currently benchmarked on old auction figures," Singh wrote to Raja on November 2, 2007.
Singh was responding to a letter from Raja on the same day, in which he'd complained against then law minister HR Bhardwaj's opinion that the matter be referred to an eGoM.
"In view of the importance of the case and various options indicated, it is necessary the issue is first considered by an eGoM," Bhardwaj had written to Raja a day earlier.
"In that process, legal opinion of the attorney general can be obtained," Bhardwaj wrote.
Raja brushed aside this opinion, and accused the law ministry of creating hurdles in the functioning of the department of telecom (DoT). He also refused to take the opinion of the then attorney general, the late Milon K Banerji.
"The law ministry, instead of examining the legal tenability of these procedures, suggested referring the matter to an eGoM… needless to say the present issue is merely procedural, and the ministry's opinion is out of context."
Raja had replied to the PM's letter the same day and promised "full transparency in all decisions".
In a questionable move, Raja wrote again to the PM on December 26, 2007, informing him of his decision to proceed with the 2G spectrum allocation.
In his letter, Raja mentioned the names of then external affairs minister Pranab Mukherjee and then solicitor general GE Vahanvati among those he'd consulted before proceeding.
A week later on January 3, 2008, the PM wrote back to Raja: "I have received your note on the developments on the telecom sector."
A week later on January 10, bypassing the cabinet and other forums of inter-ministerial consultations, the DoT issued a press release asking applicants to collect their letters of intent.