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A Raja Letter to JPC

A Raja Letter to JPC

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Published by: NDTV on Apr 22, 2013
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03/18/2014

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1.1 I was the Minister for Communication and Information Technology
during the period 16.05.2007 to 14.11.2010, when I had to resign
because of the controversy created by the grant of UAS Licenses and
allocation of 2G spectrum by the DoT in the years 2008-09.

1.2 This JPC has been constituted to examine all matters relating to
allocation and pricing of Telecom Licenses and Spectrum from 1998-
2009. Despite my repeated requests,1

the Chairman of the JPC has
declined to permit me to depose before the Committee and set out the
entire sequence of events and roles of various individuals in relation
to the grant of UAS Licenses and allocation of 2G spectrum. I am
therefore submitting this Written Statement to the JPC.

1.3 Since I do not have access to the records with the JPC, I have mostly
referred to the records as available in the Special Court dealing with
the matter. In case the JPC requires any particular document, I will be
happy to provide the same.

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Vide letters dated 22.02.2013, 13.03.2013, 18.03.2013 and 09.04.2013.

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1.4 The controversy in relation to the grant of UAS Licenses and
allocation of 2G spectrum became sensational in the year 2010
essentially because of allegations that I, in conspiracy with other DoT
officials and some private companies, granted UAS Licenses and 2G
spectrum at a throwaway price thereby causing huge losses to the
exchequer and windfall gains to the licensee companies. It was
further alleged that I altered the procedure for grant of licenses and
allocation of spectrum to benefit the companies I was conspiring with.

1.5 The controversy was looked into by the Supreme Court, the CAG and
by this JPC. None of these three bodies have bothered to give me a
hearing
. This is truly unfortunate because an examination of the
facts, that I could have presented, would demonstrate that I had
throughout acted in public interest. Neither the policy nor the
procedure was altered to benefit any applicant – rather, it was made
more stringent and transparent than the past. Under my tenure,
teledensity targets were reached ahead of time and tariffs fell to
perhaps the lowest in the world. At the same time, Government
revenue from telecom increased to become the largest non-tax
revenue of the Government. It was a win-win situation for the
Government, the consumer and the telecom industry.

1.6 Today, the telecom growth story is over. Misguided judicial
intervention forced the government to take unsustainable policy
decisions. Competition in the sector has been destroyed. Investor

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confidence in the sector is at an all-time low. The failed spectrum
auction has made a joke of the ‘loss to the exchequer’ theory. It is in
these circumstances that the Government must introspect on its
actions of the last two years in relation to policy formulation,
defending its policy before various fora, and launching prosecutions
against various persons including myself.

1.7 Speaking of prosecutions, I must note with a sense of happiness and
pride in my honesty that the combined investigation by the CBI, ED
and Income Tax Department could not identify a single rupee of any
bribe or gratification received by me or even my extended family for
the so called benefits given by me to the private companies. I am
confident that I will establish my innocence before the competent
court and that this JPC will also hold my actions to be fully justified.

1.8 In this Written Statement, I first present the situation that prevailed in
the DoT in May 2007, when I was appointed as the MoC&IT and the
context in which the recommendations of the TRAI were received and
considered by the DoT. I then discuss the various actions of the DoT
in relation to the grant of licenses in 2008 and allocation of spectrum
over a period of time in 2008-09, under the following heads:
(i) fixation of entry fee; (ii) FCFS policy; (iii) fixation of cut-off date;
(iv) dual technology; and (v) eligibility of applicants. Much of the
controversy has centred around these five issues.

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