2G: Apex court surprised over TRAI report on losses

Arun S New Delhi | Updated on September 21, 2011

The Supreme Court on Wednesday took exception to a recent Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) report regarding the loss to the exchequer on account of the 2G spectrum allocation in 2008.

The TRAI report filed last month reportedly said it was not possible to calculate the exact losses to the exchequer due to the 2G spectrum allocation in 2008 during the tenure of the then Telecom Minister Mr A Raja. The TRAI communication sent to the CBI also said that the telecom regulator did not recommend auctioning of the 2G spectrum licence.

Noting that the TRAI is an independent body as a regulator, the apex court, which is monitoring the CBI probe in the 2G case, said "We are certainly surprised over the communication sent by TRAI. It’s a seriously debatable issue what they (TRAI) have done recently."

The Supreme Court said everything regarding the 2G case should have been left for the Special Court to decide, adding that "let the system work on its own." The apex court said the matter should not be taken lightly, but added that that it has reserved its comments on the matter lest it prejudices the parties involved in the case.

To this, the CBI counsel Mr K K Venugopal said the agency has not accepted the TRAI report, but indicated that there are people who are taking advantage of the report. The CBI had earlier also said that the TRAI report was unsolicited. Some of the accused in the case had cited the TRAI report to say that it means that the CBI's claim of conspiracy and losses on account of 2G spectrum allocation is baseless.

The apex court also observed that the CBI's assessment of losses from the 2G spectrum allocation (at Rs 30,984.55 crore) was substantially less than what was estimated by the Comptroller and Auditor General in its report (at Rs 1.76 lakh crore). It added that even the CBI's assessment is being contested.

Meanwhile, the Janata Party President Dr Subramanian Swamy filed fresh documents on the alleged role of the Home Minister Mr P Chidambaram in the 2G case. Mr Chidambaram was Finance Minister in 2008 when the 2G spectrum was allocated during the tenure of the then Telecom Minister, Mr A. Raja.

The documents are regarding Mr Chidambaram's meetings with Mr Raja in 2008 and suggesting that as the Finance Minister, he had allegedly agreed to the imposition of the same entry fee as that prevailing in 2001 for licences allotted upto December 2008.

Published on September 21, 2011

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