In the most serious indictment on the 2G-spectrum scam, India's
official auditor Tuesday said former communications minister A.
Raja even ignored Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's advice and
allotted radio frequency to new telecom players at low prices,
resulting in a huge revenue loss of Rs.1.76 lakh crore (nearly $40
In a 96-page report, including annexures tabled in parliament, the
Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) said the presumptive loss to
the exchequer through spectrum allocation to 122 licencees and 35
dual technology licences in 2007-08 was Rs.1,76,645 crore.
"The entire process of spectrum allocation was undertaken in an
arbitrary manner," said the report, adding the loss was arrived at
on the basis of the 3G auction earlier this year that fetched the
government Rs.67,500 crore (around $15 billion).
The report was tabled in the Lok Sabha by Minister of State for
Finance S.S. Palanimanickam, who belongs to Raja's party DMK. In
the Rajya Sabha, it was tabled by his colleague Minister of State
for Finance Namo Narayan Meena.
The audit report, also sought to give a clean chit to the
ministries of finance and law and justice -- as also the Prime
Minister's Office -- saying the telecom minister had brushed aside
their advice as well.
"The entire process of allocation of unified access service
licences lacked transparency and was undertaken in an arbitrary,
unfair and inequitable manner," said the damning report that was
brushed aside later by Raja, who continued to say he had done no
"The prime minister had stressed on the need for a fair and
transparent allocation of spectrum, and the ministry of finance
had sought for the decision regarding spectrum pricing to be
considered by an empowered group of ministers," said the report.
"Brushing aside their concerns and advices, the Department of
Telecommunications in 2008 proceeded to issue 122 new licences for
2G spectrum at 2001 prices, by flouting every cannon of financial
propriety, rules and procedures."
At a press conference later, when Deputy Comptroller and Auditor
General Lekha Gupta was asked on what basis the various
ministries, the prime minister and the federal cabinet as a whole
were absolved, she said there was no such attempt.
"We have not given a clean chit to anybody. We have only based our
report on the basis of documents at our disposal," Gupta said,
adding even the cut-off date for receipt of applications was
Raja, who resigned Sunday in the wake of the controversy, said the
government's stand was spelt out in an affidavit filed before the
Supreme Court, which was hearing the matter, and that he could not
comment any further as the case was sub judice.
"Let the law take its course. I have put up my defence before the
Supreme Court. My conscience is clear," he said, adding: "I did
everything according to the recommendations by the telecom
After adamantly refusing to resign, Raja quit the cabinet late
Sunday night over the 2G spectrum controversy, ending an
opposition-Congress standoff that, however, continues to paralyse
Even two days after Raja's resignation, the opposition continued
to demand a probe by a joint parliamentary committee, resulting in
the adjournment of both houses of parliament Monday and on several
occasions a day later.
The government, so far, has rejected the opposition demand.