Raja and aides forged documents to favour few firms, says CBI
The CBI has claimed that former telecom minister A Raja colluded with two of his aides to forge documents to make a select few telecom companies eligible for the unified access service licences and 2G spectrum.
Citing the example of 13 circle licences issued to Swan Telecom, the agency told a Delhi court: “Swan Telecom was not eligible on the date of application. But records were subsequently manipulated to show that it was eligible.”
On the other hand, the CBI said, many eligible companies were denied licences. Tata Tele Services, for instance, applied for spectrum on January 10, 2008, but department of telecommunication (DoT) officials manipulated records to show that the department had not received the company’s application.
It was after finding proof of manipulations in official records that the CBI added fresh charges of forgery and cheating in the first information report filed in 2G spectrum scam.
The agency is also probing the DoT officials who issued the letters of intent for 122 circles to nine service providers, which had applied for licences on or before September 25, 2007.
The DoT issued a press release on that date that no application would be accepted after October 1, 2007.
The agency said Raja’s former personal secretary RK Chandolia was monitoring the status of the receipt of applications and was instrumental in deciding the cut-off date.
Chandolia had asked DoT officials to open four counters for distributing the letters of intent. The CBI said it was designed to help a select few, as the letters were distributed neither simultaneously nor on the first-come first-served basis.
“The cut-off date was unfairly changed. The policy of first compliance with LoI was arbitrarily introduced and this information was selectively leaked,” the agency said, adding that, as a consequence, the government lost Rs 22,000 crore.
On the role of former DoT secretary Siddhartha Behura, the CBI claimed that he and Raja abused their official positions as public servants and ignored the suggestions of further verifying the eligibility of the companies that had applied for 2G spectrum licences.