‘Where has money gone’: Ex-minister A Raja needles govt on 5G spectrum auction | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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‘Where has money gone’: Ex-telecom minister A Raja needles govt on 5G spectrum auction

Aug 03, 2022 09:12 PM IST

DMK MP A Raja spent 15 months in jail over what came to be known as the 2G scam after Vinod Rai CAG blamed Raja’s telecom ministry of causing a notional loss of ₹1.76 lakh crore by not auctioning the spectrum licences

CHENNAI:Former union telecom minister A Raja, who was investigated for the grant of 2G spectrum licences in 2007 and spent 15 months in jail before his acquittal in 2017, on Wednesday demanded a probe into the 5G auction that ended this week, his comeback to the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) that led a bitter campaign against him over the 2G spectrum case.

Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) MP A Raja said the government should probe why it received less than the 5 lakh crore that it expected to raise (ANI)
Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) MP A Raja said the government should probe why it received less than the 5 lakh crore that it expected to raise (ANI)

“The government has itself estimated that 5G would be sold up to 5 lakh crore. But now 5G has been auctioned for only 1.5 lakh crore,” Raja told reporters., a reference to the 4.3 crore reserve price set for a total of 72 gigahertz of spectrum in 22 telecom circles before the bids came in. The government realised only 35% of the reserve price.

“Where has the money gone? Where has the mistake taken place? This current government should investigate this,” said Raja, who was once considered the face of what came to be known as the 2G scam after the Comptroller and Auditor General’s office led by Vinod Rai claimed that the 2G allocation process in 2007-08 caused a presumptive loss of 1.76 lakh crore.

Raja was accused of rigging the allocation of the 2G mobile spectrum in what was then regarded as one of India’s biggest scams, which led to his resignation and contributed to turning a public mood against the then UPA government. In 2017, Raja and 34 others, who were charged by the Central Bureau of Investigation, were acquitted by a Delhi court which held that CBI “miserably failed to prove any charge against any of the accused, made in its well choreographed charge sheet”.

On Wednesday, Raja told reporters that when he recommended 30MHz allocation to TRAI, the then CAG Vinod Rai in 2010 said that it would lead to a loss of 1.76 lakh crore to the government. “And the bid received now for 51 GHz of 5G, which is so much more efficient, fast and expensive, is sold for a lesser amount,” Raja said.

The 5G auction concluded on August 1. The telecom ministry has said that 5G will roll out in India by October.

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