The CBI has found nothing against Arun Shourie to suggest that there was any wrongdoing in the allocation of spectrum during his tenure as the telecom minister during the NDA regime.
Shourie had been questioned by the CBI this February, as part of the exercise to find out whether the telecom policy had been transgressed in any manner, or whether the Trai guidelines had been subverted during his stint in the Sanchar Bhawan.
Acting on the Supreme Court’s directive, the CBI has registered a preliminary enquiry against some “unknown persons” to find out whether the provision of ‘firstcome-first-served’ policy for granting licences (based on the 2001 prices), passed by the then Cabinet, was adhered to or not.
The NDA was in power at the Centre between 2001-May, 2004, and Shourie was the telecom minister from January 2003-May 2004. The CBI, which had questioned Shourie for three hours on February 25, has found out that there was not to suggest that he had tinkered with the policy or that he had favoured any telecom player in the grant of UAS licence and the allocation of spectrum.
“I told them (the investigators) what were the circumstances and how individual decisions (regarding spectrum allocation) were taken that time (during his tenure) and that there was not a slightest departure from Trai recommendations. There was not a slightest departure from the Cabinet decisions,” Shourie had told newspersons after coming out from the CBI headquarters.
The former union minister told the CBI that each of the 28 licences granted during his tenure was in unremunerative circles. The policy, he pointed out, aimed at increasing telecom penetration and there were several months when not a single application for licence was received because of apprehensions about the returns.
Shourie, during his interaction with the CBI, submitted a note strongly countering the claim of the UPA-appointed Shivraj Patil Committee that a Cabinet decision accepting recommendations by telecom regulator Trai was subverted to avoid auctions. The auction route did not get any takers, the former BJP MP insisted. Economic Times