M A I N   N E W S

Patil report names 2G guilty
Raja said to be in the list; Sibal promises action
after examining content

Girja Shankar Kaura/TNS

The one-man committee

  • Looked into Spectrum allocation from 2001-09. The period includes telecom licences issued during the NDA regime
  • Nails ex-Telecom Minister A Raja for lapses, according to unconfirmed reports
  • Names seven DoT officials, including former secy Siddharth Behura and Raja aide RK Chandolia

CBI quizzes Raja for the third time

New Delhi: The CBI on Monday once again quizzed former telecom minister A Raja in connection with his role in the 2G scam. He was confronted on his relations with several beneficiaries of his alleged largesse, most of whom were also close to corporate lobbyist Niira Radia, said to be the conduit between Raja and them. Radia was questioned for several hours by the CBI last week and details that emerged from her questioning had given the CBI ammunition to question the DMK MP for the third time.

New Delhi, January 31
The one-man committee headed by retired Supreme Court judge Justice Shivraj V Patil, who was appointed by the Telecom Ministry to look into the lapses in the allocation of the 2G Spectrum, has identified the guilty in the report which was submitted here today.

On the last day of his tenure, Justice Patil submitted the report to Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal and said he had identified individuals guilty of malpractice in the 2G scam. After former Telecom Minister A Raja resigned, the panel was set up on December 13 last year to look into the Spectrum allocation procedures and policies from 2001 to 2009. The period also includes the issuing of telecom licences during the NDA regime. During 2001-04, the BJP-led NDA Government was at the Centre and Raja had been saying that he only followed the policies of his predecessors.

Unconfirmed reports said the panel had nailed Sibal’s predecessor A Raja for procedural lapses. The report also named seven other officials in the Department of Telecom (DoT), including former DoT Secretary Siddharth Behura and RK Chandolia, a former lieutenant of Raja.

“We have identified some officials on whose part there have been some deficiencies and lapses. We have also suggested remedial measures,” Justice Patil told reporters here. Justice Patil also said that his report mainly dealt with the appropriateness of procedures adopted by the DoT.

In what could be a setback for the BJP-led opposition seeking a JPC probe into the Spectrum scam, Patil clarified that procedural lapses of different types were found in different periods and that referred to not just the particular year in question but also before that. He said that procedural shortcomings were found in applications of telecom operators and that there were many shortcomings on the part of DoT officials in implementing procedures.

“The Central Bureau of Investigation is dealing with the criminal culpability... That is a different issue. My report deals with the procedures followed by the Department of Telecom while granting licences and allocating Spectrum during the period (2001 to 2009),” said Patil.

He said there was some difficulty in procuring original documents in some cases, as the same were with the CBI, which is probing the scam. “However, the copies were produced by my reference...,” he acknowledged. Sibal said the report ran into 150 pages with over a dozen annexures which made it an almost a 1,5000-page report and that it would be made public at an appropriate time. “I place on record my appreciation to Justice Patil for submitting the report in such a short period,” Sibal said, “We will examine the report thoroughly and take necessary action,” he added.

The report also comes at a time when the government is framing a new telecom policy. The one-man committee was also asked to go into the circumstances that led to the formulation of the telecom policy of 1999 and to examine the internal procedures since 2001 to issue licences.

The panel was also asked to examine if procedures were followed consistently and if these were followed in fair and transparent manner and report any deviation, shortcomings and lapses.

Country’s top audit body Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) had earlier alleged that several operators had suppressed information while applying in 2007 to bag licences and the 2G Spectrum from A Raja.

Justice Patil said that in the report he had suggested remedial measure with regard to the licensing policies and procedures. Concerning the guilty identified in the report, Patil said he could not produce supporting documents as they were with the CBI.





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