Who are Behura and Chandolia?

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on November 12, 2017

The arrests by the Central Bureau of Investigation has indicated the involvement of top officials of the Department of Telecom in the alleged scam of giving away 2G spectrum to a few operators

Mr Siddharth Behura, who was arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation on Wednesday, belongs to the 1973 Indian Administrative Service batch and had joined DoT as the Secretary from January 1, 2008.

Mr Behura's association with Mr Raja dates back to the time when he was in the Environment Ministry – which was under Mr Raja before he became the Telecom Minister. It was Mr Behura who signed the files leading to the allocation of 122 licences to new companies, many of whom did not even met the eligibility criteria according to the Comptroller and Auditor General.

Mr Behura had earlier said that he had merely implemented a decision taken by Mr Raja before he became the DoT Secretary. But interestingly Mr Behura's predecessor, Mr D.S. Mathur, had refused to sign the files. After Mr Mathur retired on December 31, 2007, Mr Raja got in Mr Behura as the Telecom Secretary and got the files signed.

Mr A.K. Chandolia is a 1984 batch Indian Economic Service Officer. He was the private secretary to Mr Raja when the licences were awarded in 2008.

Mr Chandolia is known to be close to the former Telecom Minister and is alleged to have acted as front man. It has also been alleged that it was in Mr Chandolia's room that operators were called to submit documents and bank drafts on January 10, 2008 after DoT gave just two hours for the applicant companies to fulfill all eligibility criteria. Mr Chandolia has denied these allegations.

When investigating agencies starting operating from within the DoT after the raid in 2009, Mr Raja re-designated Mr Chandolia as the Economic Adviser, that gave him the charge of all important policy-related work.

> tkt@thehindu.co.in

Published on February 02, 2011

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