The CBI probe into the 2G spectrum scam has established that former telecom minister A. Raja and former telecom secretary Siddhartha Behura allegedly brushed aside the legal position and the mandate of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai), while awarding Unified Access Service (UAS) licence to the new service providers with an intention to benefit a few telecom companies.
Sources in the agency said that ignoring of the legal position and the Trai mandate by Mr Raja and Mr Behura allegedly benefited Unitech and Swan Telecom of Shahid Balwa. Officials of the Department of Telecommunication (DoT) had drew attention of Mr Raja (through a note dated October 25, 2007) that the DoT needed to seek Trai recommendations on introduction of new operators in a service area. But, added sources, this was not accepted either by the former telecom minister or Mr Behura. Some of the DoT officials, whose statements have been recorded under section 164 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) have also stated same thing, sources said.
The agency has recorded statements of a total of seven persons under section 164 of the CrPC. The individuals whose statements have been recorded in this section include — Ashish Karyekar, Ashok Wadhwa, Deodutt Pandit, A Srivastava, Ramjit Singh Kushvaha, Ashirvatham Acharya and R.P. Aggarwal.
One of the DoT officials in his statement said, “In certain cases rules were amended as per the wishes of the telecom operators, who were in the race of 2G allotment”. Statements under section 164 will be considered as evidence in the court of Law, sources added.
The agency’s probe has also established that the change in the Letter of Intent (LoI) by Mr Raja was the manifestation of the malicious design. This was first indicated in the letter dated October 26, 2007, written to the Union Ministry of Law and Justice by Mr Raja, giving a justification for DoT’s decision in this regard. It was aimed to benefit the accused private persons or companies by deviating from the existing policy, sources said.
The agency is also verifying the 19-page statement of corporate Lobbyist Nira Radia recorded by the agency under section 161 of the CrPC. Sources said her statement was being verified in connection with the transfer of two senior officials of the Wireless Planning and Coordination (WPC) wing of the DoT by Mr Behura and Mr Raja’s former personal secretary R.K. Chandolia.
“The officials, who were transferred, were not prepared to declare the two companies in question eligible for award of the spectrum allocation in the Delhi circle. They were transferred out of the WPC wing on August 25, 2008”, sources said. They added that the accused officials and the minister wanted to accommodate Swan and Unitech in certain circles, including Delhi, though there was possibility of having a very limited of operators who could be awarded the spectrum licences.
Besides, the probe by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and the CBI has found that 22 Cyprus-based companies have allegedly invested in some Indian telecom companies, which were in the race for 2G allotment. Sources said most these companies are located Nicosia, capital of Cyprus, sources added. If required, the ED may send a separate Letter of Request to authorities concerned in Cyprus to get the details the companies located there. Asian Age