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Post Info TOPIC: SPECTRUM 2G -SONIA-RAJA- WHO ARE BENEFECIARIES


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"2ஜி' உரிமங்கள் ரத்து மறுஆய்வு மனுவை வாபஸ் பெறுகிறது அரசு
 
First Published : 09 May 2012 02:00:11 AM IST

 

 

 

 புது தில்லி, மே 8: 2ஜி அலைக்கற்றை பெற்ற 122 உரிமங்களை ரத்து செய்து உச்ச நீதிமன்றம் பிப்ரவரி மாதம் வழங்கிய தீர்ப்பை மறுஆய்வு செய்யக் கோரி தாக்கல் செய்த மனுவைத் திரும்பப் பெற மத்திய அரசு முடிவு செய்துள்ளது.

 

 இது தொடர்பான மனுவை உச்ச நீதிமன்றத்தில் மத்திய அரசு வியாழக்கிழமை தாக்கல் செய்யும் என்று எதிர்பார்க்கப்படுகிறது.

 

 இது தொடர்பாக, உச்ச நீதிமன்றத்தில் மத்திய அரசு ஏப்ரல் மாதம் தாக்கல் செய்த மனுவில், ""தொலைத்தொடர்பு நிறுவனங்களுக்கு வழங்கப்பட்ட 122 உரிமங்கள் ரத்து செய்யப்பட்டதை மத்திய அரசு எதிர்க்கவில்லை. ஆனால், தீர்ப்பில் மத்திய அரசை விமர்சித்தது, ஏலம் விடுவதற்கு நிர்ணயிக்கப்பட்ட கால வரம்பு, இயற்கை வளங்கள் தொடர்பாக உச்ச நீதிமன்றம் தீர்ப்பில் குறிப்பிட்ட கருத்து போன்றவை குறித்து தெளிவுபடுத்த வேண்டும்'' என்று கோரப்பட்டிருந்தது.

 

 இதற்கிடையே, தீர்ப்பு குறித்து தெளிவுரை கோரி குடியரசுத் தலைவர் கையெழுத்திட்ட குறிப்பை மத்திய அரசு உச்ச நீதிமன்றத்தில் தாக்கல் செய்தது. இந்த நிலையில், மத்திய அரசின் மேல்முறையீட்டு மனுவை ஏப்ரல் 13-ம் தேதி விசாரித்த உச்ச நீதிமன்றம், அது குறித்து பதில் அளிக்கும்படி வழக்கு தொடர்ந்த ஜனதா கட்சித் தலைவர் சுப்பிரமணியன் சுவாமி, மக்கள் வழக்காடு மையம் சார்பில் ஆஜராகும் பிரசாந்த் பூஷண் ஆகியோருக்கு நோட்டீஸ் அனுப்பியது.


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SPECTRUMPED 



Govt banks on Prez reference over 2G case 


New Delhi: Ready to withdraw its petition seeking a review of the Supreme Courts 2G judgment cancelling 122 licences after thecourtofferedonly a limited relook,the government is pinning its hopes for a better outcome for the telecom sector throughthecourtsopinion on a hostof issues raisedin thePresidentialReference.
In its petition,the government had questioned the auction-only route for distribution of natural resources and argued that revenue maximization could not be the guiding principle for policy making.It also raisedthe issue of separation of powers,arguing whether the court had strayed outside its domain while prescribing auction as thesolitary means.
The government feared these points could not have been addressed through the limited review the court had agreed to.The SC had also extended the deadline for the auction of 2G licences by 80 days against the 400 sought by the government,which was second factor that led the government to bank on thePresidentialReference.
By an order dated April 13,2012,the SCwas pleasedtoissue notice limited to the grounds raised in Grounds B to F in the petition.In view of the fact that only limited notice has been issued,the petitioners (government ) do not want to press the review petition and will be praying for withdrawal of the review petition, the governmentsletter tothe SC said.



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2G scam: PM should dismiss PC. More lies from Govt. Govt trapped in own web of deceit

 

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BELLIGERENCE AS COVER

Questions on Aircel-Maxis deal unanswered (Pioneer Edit, 9 May 2012)
 
Serious questions of Ministerial impropriety have been raised by this newspaper in exclusive reports on the acquisition of Aircel Cellular Ltd by Maxis, a Malaysia-based telecom firm, published on Tuesday and Wednesday. The Aircel-Maxis deal of 2006 has been in the news for all the wrong reasons for some time now. The then Telecom Minister Dayanidhi Maran has had to resign from the Union Cabinet and his role in that acquisition deal is being scrutinised by the CBI; the last word on why and how Aircel, a company on the verge of bankruptcy in 2005, was sold for a whopping `4,000 crore to a little-known entity is yet to be heard. But the alleged deal-fixing through reportedly unsavoury means is only one part of the messy Aircel-Maxis story. The other, and no less important, part is about whether the then Finance Minister (and now Minister for Home Affairs) P Chidambaram also had a finger in the Aircel-Maxis pie which helped his son Karti earn a huge profit from the deal by first cornering a five per cent stake in Aircel and then offloading it to Maxis when it acquired 74 per cent stake in the company. Mr Chidambaram has denied any wrong-doing on his part. He has emphatically denied that as Finance Minister he sat on FIPB approval for Maxis to acquire Aircel; that clearance was given in March and not October 2006 and, hence, the question of delaying the deal to facilitate his son’s windfall profit-making does not arise. However, neither his denial nor the UPA Government’s stout defence of Mr Chidambaram stands up to scrutiny. Records suggest that there is a divergence between what the Minister and the Government claim, and the evidence on hand. Surprisingly, unmindful of the potentially damaging consequences of continued denial premised on dubious claims, the Government has shown little wisdom in adopting a belligerent posture after the Opposition took up the issue in Parliament on Tuesday.
Even at this stage had the Government offered to look into the allegations in a free and fair manner would have helped it avoid further embarrassment. But it has chosen to brazen it out, much as it did in the early days when the 2G Spectrum scam was exposed by this newspaper. By the time the Government realised that defending the indefensible was outright foolish and damaging to its already tarred image, enormous damage had been inflicted by the Great 2G Spectrum Robbery whose stain will forever tarnish the UPA and whose shadow shall continue to stalk the Congress and the Prime Minister, no matter how hard they try to shake it off. There is no percentage in being obstinate and refusing to clarify valid doubts that have been raised — by this newspaper and parliamentarians — about the Aircel-Maxis deal. The evidence that militates against the Government’s claim and the Minister’s denial is too overwhelming to be disregarded. The explanation, such as it is, has been too flip and simplistic to be taken seriously. As today’s front page report points out, there is clearly more to the deal than meets the eye. The Government must explain, and convincingly so, why the records do not reflect what it claims to be the factual position. Or else it should admit that there were lapses and these can’t be attributed to ‘coalition compulsion’. Nothing less will suffice.
Govt trapped in own web of deceit
WEDNESDAY, 09 MAY 2012 00:20 J GOPIKRISHNAN | NEW DELHI
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The UPA Government finds itself caught in a web of deception in its bid to defend Home Minister P Chidambaram’s role in the Aircel-Maxis deal.

On Tuesday, reacting to The Pioneer report on the gross discrepancies on the FIPB approval timing and delay of Aircel-Maxis deal, the Government insisted that the first approval was given on March 7, 2006 and second one for downstream investment on October 3, 2006. Maxis’ subsidiary of Mauritius-based Global Communication Services Holding Ltd invested in Aircel, as claimed by the Government.

However, records nail the Government lie. The facts remain that on March 7, 2006, the Government gave approval to two companies — from USA and Singapore — to raise their stake in Aircel/Global Communication Services Holding Ltd, both Indian firms.

This is established by a PIB Press release dated March 14, 2006 which states that under ‘Economic Affairs’ category (item no : 7 of the PIB Press release on FIPB approvals), M/s Century Telephone Enterprise Inc of USA and M/s Rediongton Pte Ltd were given sanction to enhance their foreign equity of 49 per cent in Aircel/Global Communication Services Holding Ltd to 74%. The value of foreign investment was shown as only Rs 180 crore. Curiously, in this case, Global Communication Services Holding Ltd is shown as an Indian investor along with Aircel.

The PIB release dated March 14, 2006 has no mention of Global Communication Services Holding Ltd acquiring any stake in Aircel. The Pioneer on Tuesday reported that the FIPB approval for the acquisition of Aircel by Global Communication Services Holding Ltd was given only on October 3, 2006.

While insisting that the first FIBP clearance was given to deal on March 7, Government’s Tuesday release claimed that on October 3, FIPB gave subsequent approval for downstream investment by Global Communication Services Holding Ltd in Aircel.

But, throughout the controversy, the Government has not come out with any documents to show that the FIPB under Chidambaram on March 7 gave any clearance to Global Communication Services Holdings Ltd to make any investment in Aircel. Unless the Government comes out with clear evidence to establish this, Chidambaram will find it difficult to deny allegations levelled by the Opposition that he purposefully delayed the clearance to benefit his son Karti.

Terming The Pioneer report on Tuesday as “factually incorrect and totally baseless” the Government on behalf of Ministry of Finance reiterated that FIPB chaired by Chidambaram as Finance Minister approved the deal on March 7, 2006. “Government had earlier issued a Press release on April 28, 2012 regarding the foreign investment made by M/s Global Communication Services Holdings Ltd, Mauritius to acquire 73.99 per cent equity in M/s Aircel Ltd. The contents of that statement are correct and are reiterated,” said the Press release titled “Clarification on AIRCEL issue”.

The Government must also clarify on the companies — Century Telephone Enterprise from USA and Rediongton Pte Ltd. According to the CBI FIR, Maxis invested around Rs 4,000 crore in Aircel by May 2006. Then how did FIPB arrive at foreign investment figure of just Rs 180 crore for increased 25 per cent shares?

Meanwhile, on the same day, March 7, 2006, FIPB under “Telecommunication” category (item No: 19) approved foreign investment of similar named company called BT Global Communication (Mauritius) Ltd. This company got approval to acquire 74 per cent in an unnamed Delhi-based company’s landline telephone operations for around Rs 9 crore.

It is also a mystery how in October 3, 2006, Global Communication Services Holdings Ltd, which was shown as an Indian entity on March 7, became a foreign investor in Aircel and Dishnet on October 3.

http://www.dailypioneer.com/home/online-channel/360-todays-newspaper/63884-govt-trapped-in-own-web-of-deceit.html


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PC scam, Aircel-Maxis. Ananda Krishnan's No. 2 wanted in Indonesia to face fraud charges

 
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Ananda Krishnan’s No. 2 wanted in Indonesia to face fraud charges
ARCHIVES 2012
Tuesday, 01 May 2012 

(The Malaysian Insider) - Indonesian police are looking to arrest Ralph Marshall, the right hand man of Malaysian multi-billionaire T. Ananda Krishnan, over fraud and money laundering charges, the republic's media have reported.

Indonesian news outlets said that Marshall, who is group CEO of Astro All Asia Networks, is now officially on the Wanted Persons List (Daftar Pencarian Orang) and police chiefs across the country have been directed to arrest him.

This comes after Marshall was put under probe last October by India's Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) for charges related to criminal conspiracy over a deal involving Maxis and Indian telco Aircel.

BeritaSatu reported on April 22 that the Indonesian Police put Marshall on the Wanted Persons List after it was established that he was a suspect in a case of criminal forgery while he was involved with Astro's Indonesian venture.

Marshall had earlier been accused of forging documents that resulted in some US$90 million (RM270 million) in losses to Astro's then partner in Indonesia PT Ayunda Prima Mitra.

The attorney for PT Ayunda Prima Mitra, Eko Purwanto was quoted by BeritaSatu as saying that the Wanted Persons letter contained instructions for police chiefs across the nation to arrest Marshall and bring him in for questioning.

Abimanyu Kameshwara, another lawyer for First Media subsidiary Ayunda Prima Mitra, said Marshall was accused of misusing operational funds from Astro Nusantara worth US$90 million.

First Media is part of the Lippo Group, with which the Jakarta Globe is affiliated.

A pay television company partly owned by Ayunda, Direct Vision, partnered with Astro All Asia Networks from 2006 to 2008 to provide satellite television service for Indonesians under the Astro Nusantara trademark.

Astro Nusantara ceased operations in October 2008 due to a commercial dispute between Astro All Asia and Lippo Group, according to the Jakarta Globe.

Another report in Republika Online on April 25 quoted Astro's lawyer as saying that Marshall would not surrender himself to Indonesian authorities.

Astro's attorney, Hafzan Taher, said the allegations against Marshall were groundless and “misleading,” according to a report in the Jakarta Globe.

“Ralph Marshall never had an operational function in Direct Vision nor did he ever have responsibility in the company,” Hafzan’s law firm, Soemadipradja & Taher, said in a statement.

"If he goes to Indonesia, it would be the same as handing his neck over for a hanging," said Hafzan. "This is an unfortunate situation as Ralph Marshall is the CEO of a large concern."

Hafzan had also earlier demanded a clarification from the police over the naming of Marshall as a suspect as he claimed that the police had dropped the case in 2010 due to a lack of evidence.

According to Media Indonesia, Marshall is being suspected of forging documents that made it appear as if Direct Vision was in debt to Astro Nusantara to the extent that it incurred losses to PT Ayunda Prima Mitra to the tune of US$90 million.

Closer to home, Indian police arrived in Malaysia late last month in a bid to gain access to information related to Maxis’s controversial acquisition of India's Aircel that allegedly involved RM351 million in kickbacks to former Indian Telecommunications Minister Dayanidhi Maran and his brother.

The CBI had filed the graft case on October 10 last year against Ananda, who controls Maxis, Marshall, who is a non-executive director at Maxis, and the Marans.

“The agency wants to know details of some financial transactions... besides recording the statement of a non-executive director of the company who has been named... by CBI in October last year,” The Times of India reported, referring to Marshall.

Both Dayanidhi and Maxis have denied any wrongdoing, with the latter insisting its RM2.5 billion purchase of the Aircel stake from Sivasankaran was on a willing-buyer, willing seller basis.
http://malaysia-today.net/archives/archives-2012/49054-ananda-krishnans-no-2-wanted-in-indonesia-to-face-fraud-charges


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Trai sticks to its formula on 2G spectrum auction 

TIMES NEWS NETWORK 

New Delhi: The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) has stuck to its formula for auctioning 2G spectrum to new players and justified the proposed shift of frequency at market-determined price for existing operators.
In its reply to the government,J S Sarma,the outgoing telecom regulator,on Sunday made three exceptions to his earlier recommendations,which have been criticized by telecom players.
But one of the changes made by Trai on Sunday may give the operators fresh ammunition to attack the regulator.Based on a query from the Telecom Commission,the watchdog has suggested that the spectrum utilization charge be enhanced from 1% to 3%,so that it is in line with 3G services.Almost immediately,telecom companies latched on to it although the proposed levy is nearly half of what they are paying at present.
It will have an adverse impact on GSM operators.It is too much for an operator to absorb in a market like this and does not provide a level-playing field with broadband wireless access (BWA) where they pay 1%, said an executive with a telecom company.
The results indicate that mostly,the impact on tariff is less than 4 paise per minute and often much lower.This can be either absorbed by the service providers from the additional minutes that are generated through charges for different retail and wholesale services.The manner in which these will be recovered will vary amongst service providers depending on individual business strategies, the regulator said in its 60-page response to the government.
The second change is on the volume of airwaves being put on the auction block in the 1800 Mhz frequency band.While suggesting the amended formula,it said the remaining spectrum in the 1800 Mhz band be auctioned this year itself.
It said that in circles where over 5MHz spectrum is available after reserving for auction and refarming,10 MHz frequency in eight blocks of 1.25 MHz each should be offered to operators,which is a quarter of what was suggested earlier.
The third modification to the original recommendation was in case of 800 Mhz frequency used by CDMA players.Trai has suggested that in circles where sufficient amount of spectrum is not available in the 800 Mhz frequency,the government could consider lowering the reserve price from two times that of airwaves in the 1800 Mhz band to 1.3 times.This means,instead of paying over Rs 36,000 crore for 5 Mhz spectrum,as was suggested earlier,operators would be required to start bidding at around Rs 23,500 crore.



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Spectrum pricing: JPC calls Trai chief 

Mohua Chatterjee TNN 

New Delhi: The Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) looking into the 2G spectrum scam has decided to call Trai chairman Rahul Khullar for a hearing on the issue of telecom companies pressuring the government to nullify telecom regulators recommendations.
Khullar is likely to appear before the JPC on May 29.The decision came after JPC member Gurudas Dasgupta wrote to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on how telecom companies were campaigning against the proposed reserve price for spectrum auction.
Dasgupta,in his letter had urged the PM to ensure that corporates do not decide the governments policy on spectrum pricing.


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 HAPPY CALL FOR USERS 

Airtel cuts 3G rates,others may follow 

TIMES NEWS NETWORK 

Mumbai: The countrys largest mobile phone operator Bharti Airtel on Thursday said that mobile broadband rates on its 3G networks have been slashed by as much as 70%.This move from the telco comes at a time when 3G adoption among Indian subscribers has been low since 3G services started rolling out last year across the country in a phased way.Airtels competitor Vodafone said it could not comment on pricing issues.
Volume based browsing rate on 3G will be down from 10p/10kb to 3p/10Kb, the company said in a statement on Thursday.These new rates will be applicable for 3G non-pack users with effect from May 17,2012.The new 3G packs will be available for both pre-paid and post-paid customers across circles using phones as well as dongles.Industry analysts said this move from Airtel could push other operators to follow suit and lower 3G mobile data rates even as call rates have been going up over the last year.
Call rates in the Indian telecom market are one of the lowest in the world but tariff for 3G services have been high,one of the reasons for 3G penetration not having taken off so far.
Airtel said that it will also offer special tariff for pre-paid users starting at Rs 10,which will enable them 30 minutes of internet access on its 3G network with validity of a day.Airtel provides 3G services across 21 telecom circles.


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Trai norms on tariffs after enrolment 

New Delhi:Telecom operators cannot increase tariffs of subscriber plans for six months from the enrolment date,but they are free to reduce call rates at the same time,sectoral regulator Trai has said.
In its Consumers Handbook on Telecommunications released on Thursday,Trai said,A tariff plan once offered by an access provider shall be available to a subscriber for a minimum period of six months from the date of enrolment of the subscriber to that tariff plan. However,for any tariff plan,the operator is free to reduce tariffs at any time but no tariff item in a tariff plan can be increased by the service provider, it added.Trai said once a tariff plan is offered by a telecom player,it would be available to the subscriber for a minimum period of six months from the date of enrolment to that plan.
The move could be very customer friendly as it gives the user the freedom to change plans during the six month period and the operator is mandated to accept the request and implement it.AGENCIES


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250cr transfer not linked with 2G scam 


Responding to a report,CBI smells another Rs 200-crore bribe transfer to tax haven published on May 16,Unitech Ltd has stated that it has always cooperated and continues to cooperate with the CBI in its investigation and has provided all the relevant materials asked for,in connection with the transfer of Rs 250 crore,which discounts the possibility of any quid pro quo in the 2G scam.
It has also pointed out that the investigation pertaining to the transfer of Rs 250 crore by the Unitech Group to the Isle to Man,as an investment,unconnected with the 2G case,is still underway and the CBI has not yet come to a final determination.The company has also said that contrary to the report stating that the Unitech Ltd board had made no resolution for transferring such a huge amount of money,the requisite copies have been made available to CBI.TNN


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PC scam fame: Maxis CEO stares at arrest, Interpol Red Corner Notice

 

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Maxis CEO stares at arrest, Interpol Red Corner Notice

MONDAY, 21 MAY 2012 00:07 J GOPIKRISHNAN | NEW DELHI 

In a new twist to the controversial Aircel-Maxis deal, the Indonesian Police has issued arrest warrant against Ralph Marshall, the CEO of Maxis Group and Astro All Asia Network. Ralph Marshall’s name figured as accused in the CBI’s FIR along with former Telecom Minister Dayanidhi Maran.

Indonesian newspapers, quoting top National Police official Brig M Taufik, recently reported that Marshall’s name figures in the Wanted List for cheating, forgery, fraud and money laundering.

Marshall, a Sri Lankan of Tamil origin, holds Canadian citizenship and is residing in Malaysia. He is considered No 2 in the vast business empire floated by the Malaysian tycoon T Ananda Krishnan, popularly known as TAK. Both figured as No 3 and No 4 in the CBI’s FIR along with Maran brothers in the Aircel-Maxis deal.

According to CBI, for facilitating the acquisition of Aircel by Maxis, Maran brothers received quid-pro-quo through Maxis subsidiary Astro. This company later invested around `600 crore in Maran brothers controlled Sun Networks, CBI’s FIR says.

“Headquarters of the Indonesian National Police (Police Headquarters) confirmed that the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Astro Malaysia, Ralph Marshall, entered the Wanted Persons List (DPO ) related to cases of alleged criminal forgery. Determination of DPO was issued since 18 April 2012 through a letter numbered DPO/05/IV/2012/DIT General Crime (Pidum) signed Ari Dono Sukmanto Brig,” reported Indonesian newspapers Republica and Antara News, quoting Chief of Bureau of Public Information Headquarters, Brig M Taufik.

In Indonesia, Wanted Persons List is known as DPO (Daftar Pencarian Orang) and it is issued on fugitives after police fails to arrest them.

The Indonesian Police officials also said hey have already sent arrest warrant against Marshall through diplomatic channels to Malaysia. The top cops also added they would soon approach Interpol to issue Red Corner Notice against “fugitive Marshall” to force the member countries to arrest him.

The same was confirmed in Malaysian newspapers like The Edge, Business Times and The Malaysian Insider. “Indonesian Police are looking to arrest Ralph Marshall, the right hand man of Malaysian multi-billionaire T Ananda Krishnan, over fraud and money laundering charges,” reported The Malaysian Insider, adding a report on the forthcoming revamp of Maxis Group following criminal charges faced by Marshall.

Astro All Asia Networks is the subsidiary of Maxis and have shareholding in several media organisations across the continent including India. Astro has entered into an alliance with Indonesian media company Lippo Group and also has sizeable shares in it.

The problem started when Astro sold its shares to Saudi Global telecom, without consulting the Indonesian partner Lippo. The Indonesian police have charged Marshall with money laundering, fraud and forgery cases and sued him for a compensation to the tune of $300 mn.

“Their (Indonesian government) calculation is that if they can exploit the criminal law to cause confusion and fear, they can avoid paying the damages,” Astro’s lawyer Hafzan Taher said in the statement, reported by the Malaysian newspaper Edge.

CBI, which registered FIR, eight months ago has not been able to question foreign nationals Ananda Krishnan and Marshall. Last week, a CBI team visited Malaysia and sources say Attorney General of Malaysia promised “all help” in relation to Aircel-Maxis deal.

However, the probe on Maxis violating the Indian foreign investment rules has reached no where. According to norms, maximum permissible level of foreign investment in telecom sector is 74 per cent. Contrary to the FIPB records, Maxis’ declaration to Malaysian stock exchange reveals that they have acquired almost 100 percent shares in Aircel in violation to Indian laws.

http://www.dailypioneer.com/home/online-channel/360-todays-newspaper/66918-maxis-ceo-stares-at-arrest-interpol-red-corner-notice.html


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Vodafone delays IPO plan on Trai proposals 

TIMES NEWS NETWORK 

Mumbai: Vodafones plans to have an initial public offering (IPO) for its India unit may be delayed as the British telco battles a slew of regulatory pressures in a key growth market.
The companys shareholders would not see this as the appropriate time to give a nod with uncertainties surrounding the sale of spectrum,said Vodafone India MD & CEO Marten Pieters.We would need certainty around the business.The proposal is not off the table but it is about getting the timing right, he said at a press conference to announce the financial results of the local arm.
Vodafone India,the second largest telecom operator in the country by both revenue and subscriber base,said its annual revenue jumped 19.5% to Rs 32,184 crore,as it cornered 20.6% revenue share of the Indian telecom market.Vodafones adjusted operating profit from the India business stood at 60 million pounds,compared to 15 million pounds in the previous year.
Vodafone said its Indian subscriber base crossed 150 million as average revenue per user reached Rs 180 in the fourth quarter of the last fiscal.The telco had 35.4 million data users,reporting 81.5% growth over the previous year.
The global giants big concern remains servicing the Rs 30,000-crore debt with an IPO unlikely to happen this year,which could seriously impact the profitability of Indian operations.The declining stock market would be another factor,besides regulatory uncertainties,delaying the listing plans.Trais recommendations for re-auctioning of 2G spectrum include a fresh base price thats almost 10 times more than what telecom operators paid in 2008.This,along with a proposed refarming of airwaves,has been opposed by all operators.Pieters said that these recommendations were economically unattractive.


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Vodafone India MD & CEO Marten Pieters 



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After Airtel,Idea cuts 3G tariffs by 70% 

TIMES NEWS NETWORK 

Mumbai: After the countrys largest mobile phone operator Bharti Airtel slashed mobile broadband rates on its 3G networks by as much as 70%,Aditya Birla group company Idea Cellular has followed suit.
The telco said in a statement on Tuesday that Ideas pre-paid and post-paid customers will pay three paise for 10 KB of data,instead of the earlier rate of 10 paise a reduction of 70%.
The recent tariff cuts from mobile operators come at a time when 3G adoption among Indian subscribers has been low since it started rolling out last year across the country in a phased manner.
The new tariff plan aims to bring internet usage within the reach of rural,midtown customers at home and will help first-time users to experience the benefits of 3G.Our objective is to drive mobile internet usage for the mass market, the company said in a statement on Tuesday.The price changes are applicable for mobile phones and data card users.
Separately,Marten Pieters,MD & CEO of Vodafone India,while announcing the companys financial results,said that the telco has been undertaking price changes for its 3G plans,without giving details.Idea said it has 2.7 million active 3G users with an average usage of 330 MB every month.



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PLAINT TO FM 
Trai showed 20,000 crore largesse to Tata Tele 

New Delhi: GSM body COAI on Monday sought intervention of finance minister Pranab Mukherjee on cancellation of dual-technology status of Tata Teleservices (TTSL),alleging that the operator was favoured by sectoral regulator Trai,while the latter debunked the claims.
In a letter to Mukherjee,COAI alleged that Trai had excluded the GSM spectrum allotted to TTSL in 2008 in calculating the available spectrum for auction and that the largesse to TTSL will amount to over Rs 20,000 crore.The Supreme Court in February this year quashed 122 licences issued in 2008 under then telecom minister A Raja,terming them illegal and asked the government to complete spectrum auction by August 31,2012.
COAI said it was concerned that the Telecom Commission has envisaged a minimum of only 10 MHz spectrum be put up for auction instead of the entire spectrum that has been quashed.Equally egregious are specific anomalies with regard to the GSM spectrum held by TTSL... while declaring the available spectrum for auction,Trai has not included the quashed GSM spectrum (in 1800 MHz band) allocated to TTSL, COAI said.In response,TTSL said this claim was misleading,totally uncalled for,false and devoid of any merit.
COAI is distorting the facts and attempting to present a misleading picture before the finance minister,in a bid to subserve its vested interests.Further,the letter is speculative in nature and represents a concocted story of some interested parties within COAI, a TTSL spokesperson said.
COAI further alleged that the exercise undertaken between September 2007 and March 2008 was wholly arbitrary,capricious and contrary to public interest apart from being violative of the doctrine of equality.
COAI added the GSM spectrum allocated to TTSL be treated as quashed and included in the spectrum to be auctioned by August 31.AGENCIES



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Centre to revisit grant of 20-year telecom licences 

All Allotments Will Be Based On A Fresh Policy: Sibal 

TIMES NEWS NETWORK 

New Delhi: The government will review its policy of issuing 20-year telecom licences in view of rapid changes in technology,market size and valuations that can invite the charge of under pricing of scarce airwaves.
Telecom minister Kapil Sibal has asked the department to examine the utility of 20-year licences in the light of a rapid escalation of spectrum values and a politically debilitating 2G scandal,where airwaves were allegedly sold cheap and licences manipulated.
The review will look at whether there is a case to reconsider the 20-year tenures.All issues and arguments will be considered in framing policy for licences and spectrum that will be allotted from now on, Sibal told TOI.
With the Comptroller and Auditor Generals report on the 2008 2G licences slamming the government for under pricing spectrum while firms got foreign investors to buy stakes at huge premiums,it is felt shorter tenures will insulate the Centre from the damaging charge of revenue loss.
The delivery systems,bandwidth and interoperability across mobile and web platforms all made the sectors growth difficult to fully anticipate.The CAGs Rs 1.76 lakh crore revenue loss estimate could hardly have seemed feasible in 2008 when licences were given out for about Rs 10,000 crore,sources said.
The values accrued in the 3G auction in 2010 were equally hard to anticipate and auditors had not considered that prices went up as only limited airwaves were on offer,leaving players with a Hobsons choice.
Teledensity in 2008 was 18% and has grown to 75% at present,a scenario that could not have been easily envisaged,feels the government.However,its attempts to argue that booming connectivity is at least in part due to moderate rates has been drowned in the din of 2G graft allegations.
Although the government has attacked the CAGs formulations,under pricing of spectrum sold in 2008 at 2001 prices is an essential aspect of the Central Bureau of Investigation charge sheet in the 2G scam.

2G scam: Behura moves court to travel abroad 



Former telecom secretary Siddharth Behura,accused in the 2G spectrum allocation scam,on Tuesday moved a special CBI court seeking permission to visit his children abroad.On Behura's plea to visit Hong Kong for a week in June to meet his children who are settled there,special judge O P Saini sought CBI's response by May 31.Behura also moved the court for release of his documents,like his driving licence and those of his financial investments,seized by the CBI during the probe.TNN



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Call rates will rise only by 4-5 paise: Trai to JPC 

TIMES NEWS NETWORK 

New Delhi: Newly-appointed Trai chairperson Rahul Khullar and his predecessor J S Sarma agreed that there might be an initial 30-40 paise a minute spike in call rates if reserve price for 2G spectrum is hiked steeply,but argued this will even out to a 4-5 paise raise over aperiod of time.
Appearing together before the Joint Parliamentary Committee on telecom,Khullar and Sarma strongly supported Trais recommendation that Rs 3,622 crore should be the minimum price for 1 Mhz of spectrum in the 1800 Mhz band,about a 13-fold increase over 2008.
The ball is now in the court of the empowered group of ministers on telecom that could be inclined to moderate the recommendation on the ground that the high reserve price will hurt telecom firms,retard the sectors growth and impact adversely on call rates.
But at Tuesdays meeting of the JPC,Khullar stood by Sarma in countering the industrys claims and said Trai had gone by the last price of spectrum discovered through the 3G auction in the 2100 MHz band in May 2010.After adjustment for price escalation,80% of the resultant value was recommended as reserve price.
JPC members like Congresss Manish Tewari disputed Trais arguments that spectrum could be vacated in a particular band to allow more efficient use of airwaves.
Along with some other members,Tewari wanted to know details of Trais valuation as he felt the recommendation could further impair the telecom success story already reeling under the 2G scam and the Supreme Court order cancelling licences.
Sarma and Khullar told the JPC that the regulator was seeking to liberalize use of spectrum so that technology restrictions within a band or bands could be done away with.This was essential keeping in view the future trajectory of the telecom sector and the rapid changes it is witnessing.
In the context of the likely value to spectrum,they felt the reserve price is justified, said JPC chairperson P C Chacko.The possible value for an all-India licence could be around Rs 16,500 crore,the committee was told.In the tainted 2008 allocations presided over by former telecom minister A Raja,permits were bundled with 6.2 MHz of 2G spectrum for Rs 1,659 crore.
The JPC meeting also saw CPIs Gurudas Dasgupta ask if the validity of the 3G auctions as a measure to assess pricing for the SC-ordered 2G auctions gave credence to the revenue losses estimated by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India.


Pc0121700.jpg 
Rahul Khullar 



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New telecom policy gets rid of roaming charges 

TIMES NEWS NETWORK 

New Delhi: Soon,you will not have to pay roaming charges for making calls on your cellphone while traveling within the country.Not just that,you will also be able to retain your number even if you move city.
The Union Cabinet set the stage for the drastic change in Indias telecom story by approving a National Telecom Policy which also seeks to put an end to your frustration with slow speed of Internet surfing.
The policy was approved after telecom minister Kapil Sibal agreed to drop certain issues from his draft,which were seen to be controversial.To begin with,anxious to prevent a repeat of the situation where former telecom minister A Raja allegedly rigged spectrum prices to favour a select group of businessmen,the Cabinet decided to vest the power to price spectrum in a ministerial panel,rather than just the minister.
The Cabinet also felt that revenue generation could not be excluded as a goal,borrowing the politically safe formulation of affordability from the New Telecom Policy,1999.
Deputy chairman of Planning Commission Montek Singh Ahluwalia had objected to the proposal to confer pricing power on the telecom minister of the day.The meeting saw him getting support from many of the attendees: home minister P Chidambaram,finance minister Pranab Mukherjee,rural development minister Jairam Ramesh,commerce minister Anand Sharma,heavy industries minister Praful Patel and highways minister C P Joshi.

RINGING IN CHANGE 


Full Mobile Number Portability,Free National Roaming Broadband for all at minimum download speed of 2 mbps Simplification of licensing regime unified licensing,delinking of spectrum from licence,online real-time submission and processing Liberalization of spectrum any service in any technology Increase rural teledensity from current level of around 39% to 70% by 2017 and 100% by 2020



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No rethink on spectrum refarming 


The affordability argument can provide comfort to telecom operators who have launched a high decibel campaign against the regulators prescription for a 10-fold increase in the reserve price for spectrum auction.However,government has virtually ruled out a rethink on the second suggestion of refarming of spectrum.The regulator has proposed that GSM operators switch from 900 Mhz band to 1800 Mhz at market determined rates,something that is being opposed to by the industry on the grounds that it will cost them nearly Rs 1.5 lakh crore.
On giving more powers to Trai: another issue which saw an animated debate in the Cabinet,the ministers were unanimous that policy making function would remain with government and not the sectoral regulator.We just want to add that policy making function would,however,continue to remain with government,means Trai will not make policy, Sibal said.
This apart,there were at least two other modifications with the telecom department dropping proposals to enact a separate law for spectrum management and to set up a finance firm for the sector.TNN



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Ex-Trai boss: Told govt in 2007 of 2G irregularities 

TIMESNEWSNETWORK 

New Delhi: Former telecom regulator Nripen Mishra told the Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) on telecom that he had made a reference on a market-based mechanism for pricing 2G licences as increasing tele-density meant that the rates set in 2001 may not be relevant in 2008 when the airwaves were allotted.
Mishra told the JPC that as licence and spectrum came together,his comment as part of a report suggested that the two would be better treated in an unbundled fashion.This was,however,not a recommendation and the observations did not find much resonance with the government.
The former Trai chairperson is a crucial witness as he was the regulator when 2G licences were allotted during former telecom minister A Rajas tenure.
Mishra also said that he had written to the government on more than one occasion in October,2007 stating his objections.He had felt that there were irregularities in the allocation of licences.
In response to questions from BJPs Ravi Shankar Prasad,Mishra said that he had outlined his objections and had also taken the view that auctions should be the option to allocate all spectrums other than 2G.
The committee will meet on June 12 to discuss the list of witnesses,including whether to call serving ministers or even Raja and some of the officials who served under him and were in jail till recently.
The meeting saw DMKs T R Baalu question Mishra over why he did not make a specific recommendation for auctions if he had felt strongly about irregularities in 2G licences.
Mishra responded by saying that Trai is bound to respond to the reference made by the government and could not step outside it.He also pointed out that as licences and spectrum are bundled,there is no question of treating them separately.

Spectrum auction to begin on Aug 6 


An Empowered Group of Ministers (EGoM) on Tuesday decided to initiate auction of spectrum,freed from cancellation of 2G licences by the Supreme Court,from August 6.It was,however,not immediately known if the EGoM headed by finance minister Pranab Mukherjee,also fixed a reserve price of airwaves.Some decisions have been taken.We will let you know, telecom minister Kapil Sibal said.Sources,however,said the EGoM has firmed up the schedule for the auction as well as the quantum of spectrum to be put up for bidding.AGENCIES



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2G scam: CBI-ED team gets crucial info from Singapore 

Documents To Be Sent To India Soon 

Neeraj Chauhan TNN 

New Delhi: In a boost to 2G spectrum scam probe,the joint team of the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) returned from Singapore a few days ago with crucial information about some private companies.
Indian investigators met the officers of Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB),who assured the EDCBI team that the documents sought would be sent in a few days after taking permission from the Attorney General of Singapore.
The team had left for Singapore last week to seek details on companies which were connected to the 2G spectrum allocation during the tenure of former telecom minister A Raja,who is presently out on bail.
A source said,For two days,we discussed the case and documents required by us with the CPIB officials.We have been given some information and all the documents would be sent soon.For executing the Letter Rogatories,through which documents would be sent formally,they will seek permission of Attorney General of Singapore. 
The agency has filed two chargesheets in the 2G scam against A Raja and others,and may file a supplementary chargesheet.The trial is on in the case,but all the accused have been granted bail.
In its chargesheet filed last year,the agency had given a step-by-step detail of how Raja,in collusion with other accused,caused a loss of Rs 30,984 crore to the exchequer.The CBI has alleged that soon after Raja took over as the telecom minister in May 2007,he appointed R K Chandolia and Sidharth Behura,who were known to him,in the same department to hatch a conspiracy.CBI had named several corporate honchos in its two chargesheets.


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2G auction price proves CAG right 

Govts Decision To Put Reserve Price At 14,000 Cr Vindicates 1.76L Cr Loss Figure 

Pradeep Thakur TNN 

New Delhi: The Union Cabinets decision to set the reserve price for auction of 2G spectrum licences at Rs 14,000 crore is an admission to the fact that governments official auditor,the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG),was not totally off the mark when it had estimated the loss arising out of the allocation without bidding in 2008 to the tune of Rs 1.76 lakh crore.
The CAG had used the 3G licence value of Rs 16,750 crore obtained by the government in auction for 5Mhz band to arrive at the figure of Rs 1.76 lakh crore.And this base price was made the benchmark also because the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) had in an earlier report endorsed this price parity, said a senior CAG official.
The main criticism of the policy followed under A Rajas term as the telecom minister was that in 2008,the government had allocated spectrum free with licences and at a price that was fixed in 2001.
After CAG came out with its 2G report in 2010,telecom minister Kapil Sibal was joined in by his other Cabinet colleagues and party leaders in criticizing the top auditor for exceeding its brief and delving into policy matters that was exclusively the governments prerogative.Sibal,who was part of the Cabinet decision on Friday to set the base price at Rs 14,000 crore,had then emphasized that it was a zero sum loss for the licences allocated by Raja without auction in 2008 to the exchequer and that CAG had lost its mind.
In fact,a cautious Trai had this time recommended a reserve price of over Rs 18,000 crore for 5Mhz spectrum in the 1800 band,which was 20% higher than what the Cabinet has settled for.
A recent internal appraisal made by CAG on quantifying losses in its reports says it was because of its initiative to highlight policy lapses that the CBI intensified its investigation and several arrests were made (in the 2G spectrum case).
As the scrutiny of the issue grew and truth began to surface,the intensity of accusations against the CAG also increased, it observed.
The CAGs internal paper blamed the government for not taking its report seriously and relegating it for evaluation by a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC).The report which had to be taken to logical conclusion in the form of meaningful recommendations of the Public Accounts Committee fell prey to parochial politics and the PACs report never saw the light of the day, the CAG said.

2G base price four times more than 3Gs 


The Centres decision to fix the base price for 2G spectrum auction is drawing comparisons with the price at which radiowaves were allocated for 3G services,but there is a huge gap in the reserve price between the two.According to the formula cleared by the Cabinet,bidding for one mega hertz of spectrum will start at Rs 2,800 crore.In contrast,at the 3G auction,the reserve price had been fixed at Rs 700 crore a Mhz,which is one-fourth of what has been prescribed now.So,for 5 Mhz the bidding started at Rs 3,500 crore and the final bid was settled at Rs 16,750 crore.Similarly,for broadband wireless auctions,the price went up from abase of Rs 1,750 crore to Rs 12,850 crore.TNN


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Raja,officials brushed aside all objections to FCFS policy: SC 

Dhananjay Mahapatra TNN 

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday made sharp comments on former telecom minister A Rajas conduct prior to irregular allotment of 2G spectrum licences on January 10,2008 while dismissing all allegations linking finance minister P Chidambaram to the scam.
A bench of Justice G S Singhvi and Justice K S Radhakrishnan said Raja and department of telecom (DoT) officials went ahead in implementing the policy of first come-first served (FCFS) basis for the grant of UAS licences after brushing aside the views of the then law minister,then finance secretary D Subbarao and the Prime Minister.
The court virtually began from where it left on February 2,when it cancelled 122 licences allotted arbitrarily and illegally under the FCFS policy followed by Raja and ordered their auction.The court referred to the complete chain of events and the letters exchanged between officials,ministers and even by the PM and Raja.
On receiving over 300 applications for spectrum licences during September 24-October 1,2007,a Telecom Commission member wrote to the law ministry for the opinion of the attorney general or the solicitor general for dealing with these applications,the court said.
The law minister on November 1,2007 recommended consideration of the entire issue by an empowered group of ministers.
When the law ministers opinion was placed before Raja,he on November 2 recorded a note calling for discussion but the very same day,he ordered issuance of letters of intent to new applicants.Raja then sent a letter to the PM and took strong objection to the suggestion made by the law minister by describing his opinion as totally out of context,the court said.
A bench of Justices G S Singhvi and K S Radhakrishnan said,The Prime Minister,however,vide his letter dated 2.11.2007 had requested A Raja to give urgent consideration to the various issues raised with a view to ensuring fairness and transparency and requested him to inform the prime minister of the position before taking any further action. 
It added,On the same day (November 2),A Raja sent a reply to the prime minister brushing aside the suggestions made by the prime minister pointing out that it would be unfair,discriminatory,arbitrary and capricious to auction spectrum to new applicants as it would not give them a level playing field. 
The court found that Raja had written another letter to the PM on December 26,2007,explaining the telecom departments decision to grant letters of intent followed by licences following the FCFS policy.
It said,We have no information as to whether the PMO had replied to the letter dated December 26,2007 sent by A Raja.After brushing aside the views expressed by Dr D Subbarao in his letter dated November 22,2007,views expressed by the minister of law and justice on November 1,2007,as well as the views expressed by the prime minister on November 2,2007,A Raja and the officials of DoT went ahead in implementing the policy of first come-first served basis for the grant of UAS licences for which it is seen,no further objection had been raised by the Prime Ministers Office.


Pc0101700.jpg 
The court began from where it left on February 2,when it cancelled 122 licences allotted arbitrarily and illegally under the FCFS policy followed by Raja and ordered their auction 



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Telecom secy must undertake to abide by 2G verdict: Court 

TIMES NEWS NETWORK 

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday sought the Centres undertaking signed by no less than the telecom secretary to abide by the February 2 judgment cancelling 122 spectrum licences and ordering auction before hearing the governments plea for extension of the August 31 auction deadline by 103 days.
A bench of Justice G S Singhvi and Justice K S Radhakrishnan told senior advocate P P Rao that the court expected the government to implement the judgment,to which the counsel said the Centre would do so but needed a little more time.
On finding that the undertaking in the application seeking extension of time till November 12 for completing auction was signed by an undersecretary,the bench said it would not accept an undertaking given by anyone below the rank of secretary.Rao said the government was ready to file the requisite undertaking.The court fixed hearing for Monday.
The court,while cancelling spectrum licences,had asked the government to complete the auction process by June 2 but had later extended it to August 13 with a direction to allot spectrum by September 7.With Unitech moving an application seeking continuance of mobile services operations till completion of fresh auction,Janata Party president Subramanian Swamy said spectrum licences had not been cancelled as ordered by the SC on February 2.



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Chandolia fudged 2G deadline,court told 

Asked DoT Not To Take Applications After Unitech 

TIMES NEWS NETWORK 

New Delhi: Former telecom minister A Rajas then private secretary R K Chandolia had given instructions to the department of telecom (DoT) to stop receiving applications for grant of 2G spectrum licences after Unitech Group submits it,a key prosecution witness told a Delhi court on Monday.
Unitech Ltd MD Sanjay Chandra and Unitech Wireless (Tamil Nadu) Ltd and Chandolia are facing trial for their alleged role in the 2G scam.
A K Srivastava,a former deputy director general of DoT,said he had opposed the proposal made by Chandolia on September 24,2007,about not receiving applications for the Unified Access Service Licences (UASL) after Unitech Group submits it.
Srivastava stated this before Special CBI Judge O P Saini when he was cross-examined by Chandolias counsel Vijay Aggarwal,who asked,I put it to you that when R K Chandolia allegedly told you to stop receipt of UASL applications,you opposed the idea saying that it is unfair 
Srivastava replied,That is correct,but I was asked by R K Chandolia to do so.It is wrong to suggest that I am repeatedly shifting my position. He said that he had not told the CBI about this till March 15,2011,as there was no discussion on this point till then.
Srivastava's testimony assumes significance as the CBI,in its charge sheet,had said that in pursuance of a conspiracy to favour telecom firms Unitech Wireless (Tamil Nadu ) Ltd and Swan Telecom Raja had decided to accept applications filed with DoT till September 25,2007.
Srivastava denied that he is deposing falsely in the court to implicate Chandolia as he was under the agencys pressure to testify against the accused due to a likely disproportionate assets case against him.
Srivastava,whose crossexamination will continue on Tuesday,said that Chandolia had asked him to initiate a note on September 24,2007,in order to fix a cut-off date for receipt of further UASL applications in the DoT and not for processing of applications.On being asked as to why he had not informed the telecom secretary if he was told to put up a note in violation of the norms and rules of the DoT,Srivastava said,On the date the note was put up,I was under much pressure and was also told by Chandolia not to mention his name. 
I had no opportunity or occasion to think about writing to the secretary as I was under threat of the implications of writing to the secretary, he replied.He also denied that he had informed DoT staff on January 9,2008 that letter of intents (LoIs) would be issued to the eligible applicants on the next day and for that purpose,four counters would be set up.
He said that then telecom secretary Sidharath Behura,also an accused in the 2G case,had approved the modalities of distribution of LoIs through four counters.

BJP to attend JPC today,wants PM,PC called 


More sparks could fly at the meeting of the Joint Parliamentary Committee on telecom on Tuesday as BJP plans to end its boycott of the panel but remains insistent on summoning PM Manmohan Singh and finance minister P Chidambaram.Former finance minister Yashwant Sinha has written to JPC chairman P C Chacko stating that BJP wants a swift resolution to the issue of calling the PM and Chidambaram.He said the matter should be discussed by the committee on Tuesday before taking up other business.Pointing out that there was no mention of the contentious witnesses,Sinha said the matter should not be swept under the carpet and be taken up before the committee begins examining RBI governor D Subbarao.Committee sources said Chacko is not keen to reopen the discussion that led to a walkout by BJP members during the previous JPC meeting.Subbaraos presence has been scheduled and Chacko will decide on the witness list since all parties represented in the committee have expressed their views.TNN


Pc0121500.jpg 
VITAL CLUES Raja and Chandolia (right),along with others,are facing trial in the 2G case for various offences like cheating,forgery,criminal conspiracy and faking documents 



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Spectrum allocation: CBI faults Mahajan-PTI

 

There was no coordination with defence Ministry before allocation, CBI says

Additional spectrum beyond 6.2 Mhz was allotted during the late Telecom Minister Pramod Mahajan’s tenure to cellular operators Airtel, Vodafone and Idea without due coordination with Defence agencies, the CBI has claimed in a probe report.

In its report to the Law Ministry, the CBI also claimed that Mahajan, who was the telecom minister during the BJP-led NDA rule, had apparently told “half truth” to then defence minister George Fernandes that additional spectrum upto 8 Mhz to cellular operators was assigned only after due coordination with Joint Communication and Electronic Staff (JCES).

The report which was sent to Law Ministry seeking opinion of the Attorney General whether a criminal case was made out against the accused companies, mentions exchange of communication between the then Ministers Mahajan and Fernandes over the issue of grant of additional spectrum and coordination with Defence Services.

In a letter to Mahajan on July 4, 2002, Mr Fernandes had flagged the issue of co-ordination of frequency spectrum with the Defence Services, CBI sources said on Thursday.

They said the letter was purportedly received by Mahajan’s office after 15 days and by that time additional spectrum had already been allocated to Bharti Cellular and Sterling Cellular (now Vodafone) in Delhi and Hutch in Mumbai.

CBI sources said Mr Fernandes had written that Telecom Ministry had gone ahead by receiving spectrum fees/charges from the new cellular operators without proper coordination on a case-to-case and place to place at many locations.

Mahajan in his reply to Mr Fernandes said frequencies had been assigned only after coordination with the defence services.

“The facts, however, show that it was half truth. The DoT actually wrote to JCES that it was going to allocate spectrum on trial basis in a few days and if no response was received from JCES that spectrum would be allocated to respective companies,” CBI claimed in its report.

The CBI claimed that investigation had revealed that the additional spectrum beyond 6.2 Mhz was allotted to the companies even without due coordination by the JCES.

 



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BI questions Essar front firm directors 

New Delhi: The CBI questioned Essar Groups director Vikas Saraf on Tuesday in the alleged Coalgate scam.He was interrogated about purchasing Nava Bharat Power Private Limited (NPPL) after the allocation of acoal block and also inflating its net worth to Rs 2,000 crore in blatant violation of the eligibility norm.The agency on Wednesday also questioned promoters and directors of NPPL Y Harish Chandra Prasad and P Trivikrama Prasad in connection with the alleged irregularities.The company and its directors were booked by the CBI in the first set of FIRs in the scam.
NPPL,CBI sources say,had misrepresented the facts while applying for the coal block in 2006.The Prasad brothers were reportedly asked about the claims made by them about the net worth of the company while applying for the coal block.The company was allocated Rampia and Dipside of Rampia coal block in 2008.The CBI had booked the firm and the directors for alleged cheating under the Prevention of Corruption Act.
The agency has said in the FIR that NPPL,in order to claim a coal block,had inflated its net worth a key norm for determining eligibility of a firm to around Rs 2,000 crore.They had allegedly claimed that they were supported by companies without having any legal basis for the assertion.The coal ministry had kept a minimum net worth of Rs 50 lakh per mega watt of the maximum capacity of the proposed power plant as a pre-qualification criteria for applicant companies.The FIR added that the company with a proposed capacity of 2,240MW would not have pre-qualified for the recommendation of the power ministry but for this deception.The companys promoters sold their stake to Essar Power and its subsidiary company for Rs 200 crore.Essar Power had rejected the allegations,saying its acquisition of NPPL was transparent and NPPL was never its front company.We are trying to find out whether it was a pre-meditated move to get Navbharat Power coal block and later sell it to Essar.We have called them for questioning after analyzing several documents, said a CBI officer.AGENCIES


Pc0111700.jpg 



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Furious SC warns govt not to play with its 2G order 

Dhananjay Mahapatra TNN 

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday warned the UPA government against playing with its order mandating auction of all 2G spectrum licences,and said prima facie it had found that the entire range of spectrum available after the cancellation of the licences had not been put up for auction.
Several private telecom players enthusiastically pointed out that the Centre had not fully complied with the SCs February 2 ruling on auctioning all 122 licences cancelled and that only a part of the available bandwidth under 800 MHz,900 MHz and 1,800 MHz had been put up for auction,the process for which began after repeated extension of time sought by the Centre.
A bench of Justices G S Singhvi and K S Radhakrishnan,however,doused the enthusiasm by observing that compliance of its February 2 order was a matter between the court and the Centre.We will not hear any private party on this issue, it said.At the same time,the bench disagreed with additional solicitor general A S Chandioks claim that the government had implemented the SCs order,and sought an affidavit by November 19 detailing the implementation.

Apex court stays HC proceedings 


T he apex court on Friday stayed all proceedings before the Delhi HC on 20 petitions filed by the 2G scam accused,including ex-telecom minister A Raja and DMK MP Kanimozhi,challenging the charges against them.The order came after the CBI said the applications appeared to be dilatory tactics.P 12



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Read Trai views on spectrum: SC to govt 

New Delhi: Taking the government to task for not implementing its February 2 order on auctioning all 122 cancelled spectrum licences,the Supreme Court on Friday said,The order relating to the auction was clear and related to all three bandwidths.How did your officials curtail it Ask your officers to read the recommendation of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India.It pertained to all three bandwidths.If you are suggesting that Trai had done it,then read the recommendations. The judges added,We can tell you clearly,prima facie you are not carrying out the courts order.You are playing with the courts order.We are clear that you were required to grant fresh licences in all 22 service areas and you have not done it. 
Additional SG A S Chadiok said as far as 800 MHz licences were concerned,there were no bidders in the auction process.For the grant of spectrum licences in the 1,800 MHz bandwidth,there are five bidders, he said.But the court wanted the department of telecom to file a fresh affidavit with documents to show that it had complied with the SCs February 2 directive in letter and spirit.
The government will need to examine the issue closely as the telecom secretary,while seeking extension of time for the auction of the cancelled licences earlier,had filed an affidavit promising the court that its February 2 directive would be complied with in letter and spirit irrespective of the outcome of the 2G presidential reference seeking clarification on auction route for all natural resources.Of the three bandwidths,900 MHz was not part of the direction for auction as no licences were cancelled in this category,DoT sources said.Adequate spectrum has been auctioned in the 800 MHz and 1,800 MHz bands,and enough spectrum is available for all five bidders seeking 30 licences in the 1,800 MHz band.All bidders in the 800 MHz band have withdrawn, the sources said.



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Congress spin-masters, step aside. Stop spinning. Read the facts about 2G spectrum auction.

Congress using the low bid amt of Rs 9,407/ crs to discredit the CAG and challenge the loss fig of Rs 1.76 lakh crs. 

Key points -

1. To read about what happened on Jan 10 2008 when certain companies were favored read this super art by Bhupesh Bhandari. Can Congress deny these facts? http://www.businessstandard.com/india/news/all-inday/s-work/464311/

2. As art below points out, There were no bidders for Mumbai, Delhi, Karnataka circles. If these nos are kept aside, total govt earnings were 67.9 % of the total base price not bad. Base price for 3 circles were high since based on 3G auction prices. 

3. Companies have probably become smarter, realised their balance-sheets are bleeding to 3G spectrum fees, so bid carefully. No mad rush.

4. It is in the interest of Telecom cos to close the 2G scam issue since most companies stand exposed. A cynical view is that they formed a cartel, bid low to prove the CAG loss figure wrong and help UPA as well.

5. Key is to wait for Supreme Court observations on auction and what Govt will do with partial spectrum blocks not sold and imp 3 key circles where no one has bid.
Telecom saga far from over!

Has the 2G spectrum auction really been a failure? http://www.business-standard.com/taketwo/news/has2g-spectrum-auction-really-beenfailure/492707/

Deconstructing the numbers shows companies have bid smartly to get the best deals

Surajeet Das Gupta / New Delhi November 16, 2012, 0:54 IST

The recently concluded sale of 1,800-MHz spectrum through auction to telecom service operators, or telcos, has been declared a damp squib for two reasons: One, only five telcos participated in the auction; and two, the bids added up to Rs 9,407 crore, which was less than a third of the Rs 30,000 crore the government had thought it would collect.

The numbers look even more appalling when analysed in some detail. The government has been able to sell less than 20 per cent of the Rs 48,000 crore of spectrum (GSM and CDMA combined) it had put up for bids. The CDMA auction failed totally because there were no takers. Even if you ignore that failure, the numbers don’t look attractive: In the 1,800-MHz band, the government has been able to get only 27 per cent of the base price. Telcos blame the government for misreading the market and keeping the base price too high for anyone to be interested.

Yet, scratch the surface and the story begins to look different. If the overall revenues that the government has been able to garner were poor and interest in the auction from operators looked lacklustre, it was because of just three telecom circles where there were no bidders – Delhi, Mumbai and Karnataka – of the 22 the country is divided into. (Rajasthan didn’t see any bidding, too, but that could be a different story.) That happened because the base prices of these circles were unusually high. The reason for that is simple: The base price for the current round of auction was benchmarked on the prices discovered during the auction of spectrum for third-generation, or 3G, services in 2010. Competition for these circles in that auction was stiff because telcos rightly assumed that data traffic would be heavy here. That is why the base price became very high in these three hot circles in the latest auction. The three circles together constituted as much as 48 per cent of the total base price of Rs 14,000 crore for pan-Indian spectrum of 5 MHz. Since these circles went unbid, the entire auction looked like a disaster. If these three circles are kept aside, the total earnings of the government do not look so bad: The collections are 67.9 per cent of the total base price — not really a failure.
So far as fewer bidders are concerned, especially when compared to 2008, when there was a literal stampede for spectrum, it is worth noting that this time around, five telcos were in the fray, even though the spectrum was almost ten times more expensive than in 2008. And that it hasn’t got the government what it had hoped for doesn’t mean the initiative has flopped. “There is no requirement anywhere that all the spectrum available needs to be sold at whatever price. Spectrum is valuable and it can be auctioned again with the same base price and operators must get used to paying a premium, ” says a former office-bearer of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India.

Telcos, battling low tariffs (phone calls in India are among the cheapest in the world), shrinking profits and massive debts, have naturally argued that the base price in these three circles was out of sync with the demand or the situation on the ground. Rajan Mathews, the director-general of the Cellular Operators’ Association of India, or COAI, the lobby group, says: “There is a need to recalibrate the price in these circles which was kept so high compared to their revenue potential that no one saw any value in even bidding for those.” Operators argue, for instance, that the base price for Tamil Nadu was kept at Rs 306.09 crore, while it accounts for 8.75 per cent share of the overall telecom revenue. At the same time, Delhi, with 8.41 per cent of the revenue, was priced higher at Rs 694 crore, and Mumbai, with 7.1 per cent of the revenue, had a base price of Rs 678 crore.

Picking and choosing
Operators have bid smartly in the auction: They have gone for many circles that have been reasonably priced and account for a healthy share of the country’s telecom revenue. One case is that of Vodafone, which has picked up additional spectrum in as many as 14 circles. A senior executive of the company says: “We have bid and won additional spectrum in circles where the base price has been reasonable and where the market is growing, for which we would require more spectrum”. So, while Vodafone has won spectrum in circles which constitute 44.67 per cent of the total telecom revenue, the value of these circles is only 22.85 per cent of the total base price (for pan-Indian spectrum). This makes these circles an attractive target.

Interestingly, the top-five circles in terms of the number of blocks sold (seven to 11) — Bihar, UP (west), UP (east), Gujarat and West Bengal — are also attractive in terms of the price- value equation. While together they contribute over 24 per cent of the total telecom revenue, their share of the base price is nearly half, at 13.6 per cent.

Telenor has cleverly decided not to bid for the expensive Mumbai circle, apart from Kolkata and West Bengal, even though it currently has subscribers in these circles. That is because if it had done so, it would have had to pay a staggering 51.96 per cent of the total base price to get into circles which have 50.06 per cent of the overall telecom revenue. That would have been unwise. What Telenor has done instead is to bid for circles which constitute 37.17 per cent of the telecom revenue, but whose share in the total base price is 28.5 per cent. Idea Cellular just stuck to the circles which it had lost due to the Supreme Court order cancelling all licences handed out in 2008 (under the first-come, first-served policy) when Andimuthu Raja was the telecom minister. Videocon was cashing in on the fact that its outgo in the auction would be neutralised by the Rs 1,658 crore that will get adjusted under the auction policy. The government has agreed to adjust the money that the operators paid for the cancelled licences. Videocon has forked out Rs 2,221 crore in the latest auction, which effectively means all it has to give the government is Rs 733 crore upfront and the rest in instalments spread over 10 years. However, Venugopal Dhoot, the chairman of the Videocon group, says his company has to pay nothing now as this would be set off against the licence fee it had paid earlier .


WHAT THE GOVERNMENT GETS
Based on the reserve price for GSM, the govt could have earned a maximum of Rs 34,385 crore
Real earning for the govt is Rs 9,407.6 crore, 27.4 per cent of the total reserve price

Delhi, Mumbai and Karnataka circles, which account for 48 per cent of the base price, did not receive any bids

If the government had not put the Delhi, Mumbai and Karnataka circles up for auction, its total earnings would have been 67.9 per cent of the reserve price for the 18 circles being auctioned

The government aims to get about Rs 31,000 crore from one-time fee charge

If the payment by operators is staggered, the government will get only Rs 9,300 crore this financial year 

The target could fall further if the cash-starved BSNL and MTNL are unable to pay Rs 11,000 crore of the one-time payment. If that happens and if operators decide to stagger payment then the govt would get only Rs 6,000 crore 

If everyone pays the auction fee through a staggered payment, the govt will get Rs 2,822 crore 

Also, the govt's share might become even smaller if it has to adjust licence fee payment of those operators which faced cancellation. However, there is no clarity on who would be eligible
High estimates
The other question is whether the government has misread the market by expecting too much money from the telecom sector. The reality is that when Pranab Mukherjee, then finance minister, now President, had announced in this year’s Union Budget that the government would raise Rs 40,000 crore (the target was later lowered to Rs 30,000 crore) from spectrum auction, he, as well as the government, was perhaps unaware that three things could happen: One, the deferred payment scheme, whereby bidders need to pay only a third of the money upfront; two, state-owned BSNL and MTNL making it clear that they do not have any money to pay Rs 11,000 crore as one-time fee to the government for excess spectrum; and three, after the Supreme Court verdict, it would have to provide credit for companies that lost spectrum. If there was no instalment scheme, the cash from the auction and the one-time fee (to be paid by operators who have spectrum beyond 4.4 MHz in GSM and 2.5 MHz in CDMA) would have been enough for the government to meet its original target of Rs 40,000 crore. That includes Rs 31,000 crore from one-time fee as cleared by the government. The numbers, however, have changed dramatically because of the three new elements that have come into the picture.

However, despite the new challenges, most experts assume that bidders will go for a staggered payment scheme rather than paying upfront, even though it means paying annual interest of 9.75 per cent for 10 years. But, the reality could be different and many might find it easier to raise funds overseas at a much cheaper rate and pay upfront. Vodafone, for instance, has publicly opposed the staggered payment scheme. If that happens, the revenue numbers could change in favour of the government.

There is some talk that those who lost their licences after the Supreme Court verdict will get credit for their sunk investment only if there are no criminal cases against them in court. Though such companies insist there is no such rule, COAI’s Mathews says: “It’s a tricky issue whether those who have charges would get the benefit or not.”

What is, however, clear is now for the government to take the next steps – what to do with the partial spectrum blocks in many circles that have not been sold and, more importantly, what to do with the three key circles where no one has bid. Can it reduce the base price without the move being challenged in a court of law? Over to the government.


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2G math: Whos wrong,CAG or UPA 

Auditor Sticks To Estimate Of Presumptive Loss,Rejects Govt Charges 

Pradeep Thakur TNN 

New Delhi: The governments fresh offensive against the CAG does not seem to have fazed the auditor which is sticking to its estimate of presumptive loss from governments failure to auction 2G spectrum in 2008.
On a day when the government fielded heavy guns finance minister P Chidambaram,telecom minister Kapil Sibal and I&B minister Manish Tewari to run down the federal auditor,CAG officials rejected the charge of sensationalism levelled against them.
While chief auditor Vinod Rai and his deputies were inaccessible,senior officials defended their math,arguing that the estimate of presumptive loss was based on solid assessment and records provided by the government itself.
For instance,they said one of the bases of the CAGs estimate was the fee that S-Tel,a company which was allegedly discriminated against by then telecom minister A Raja,had offered to pay for spectrum.
Based on the offer that S-Tel made on November 5,2007,the price of spectrum would have stood at Rs 67,000 crore,much above the Rs 12,000 crore that the government managed under the first come first served scheme Raja claimed to have followed.That is not all,S-Tel in a letter to the PM offered to up its offer to match any counter bid.
Sources pointed out that in its report,CAG had given three presumptive loss figures to illustrate the value of 2G spectrum allocated to 122 licencees in 2008 Rs 57,000 crore based on sale of equity by new licencee Swan,Rs 67,000 crore based on S-Tels offer and Rs 1,76,000 crore based on the proceeds from the 3G auction.
CAG sources said the auditor,while putting these figures,had stressed that any loss ascertained while attempting to value 2G spectrum allocated to 122 licencees can only be presumptive,given the diversity of determinants such as scarcity value,the nature of competition,business plans envisaged,number of operators,growth of sector etc which,depending upon the market situation,would throw up the price that it commands at a given point of time.
CAGs report on 2G spectrum had clearly said that arriving at a precise value of spectrum could have been possible only through an efficient market discovery process,and the study was only presumptive.
While the government lost no time in attacking the CAG based on poor returns from the recent auction of 2G spectrum,CAG sources said the aggression failed to take into account the dual technology given out to telecom firms that had been presumed to be worth Rs 37,000 crore,as well as extra spectrum held by some operators worth another Rs 37,000 crore.The two,if put together,amounts to Rs 74,000 crore and if deducted from the presumptive loss of Rs 1.76 lakh crore,leaves Rs 1.02 lakh crore as the CAGs figure for 122 licences.
Major profitable circles in the present round of auction,such as Mumbai,Delhi,Karnataka and Rajasthan which together could account for more than 50% of the estimated revenue the government was hoping to garner,were skipped by the companies.
The governments failure to receive bids for profitable sectors was also because some players in these circles already held 900 MHz spectrum and they may not need additional airwaves in these circles,a senior CAG official said.

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Holes in Singhs 2G scam draft report exposed 

Josy Joseph & Rajeev Deshpande TNN 

New Delhi: The 2G scam draft report submitted by former CAG official R P Singh,who has alleged that his findings were overridden by his seniors,was so shoddy that it failed to even establish that 85 of 122 telecom licences issued were in violation of the law.
Issuance of these licences to ineligible applicants,the backbone of the illegalities in the 2G scam,was established later and the relevant paragraph was referred to the department of telecommunication.However,this was under Singhs signature calling in question his claim of having nothing to do with 2G report beyond his May 31,2010,draft.
Submissions by Singh and CAG Vinod Rai also cast an interesting light on an RTI that somewhat mysteriously landed on the former officials desk although he was the appellate authority.The response to the RTI significantly revealed Singhs reservations of the loss of revenue computations,including the Rs 1.76 lakh crore.
CAG has said Singhs initials on the RTI letter suggest the application was directly handed to him at 5.30 pm on July 29,2011.The applicant was one Boban Varghese Paul,a former St Stephens College student union president.The documents were later handed over to him by hand.
Rightfully the RTI request should have been first received at the Receipt and Issue section and later send to the CPIO.Singh explained the anomaly saying,Normal procedure is that entire daks which comes to the office,is put in a folder and circulated to the officers including DG (P&T). Rai told PAC that it was the only instance as substantiated from office records where an RTI application was received directly in the DGs secretariat. 
Singh retired in September,2011,as the Director General (P&T) after overseeing the 2G scam audit but has since virtually disowned the report that bears his signature.He renewed his attack on CAG and dragged PAC chair M MJoshi into the firing line just as the winter session of Parliament got underway.
Far from being a stickler for figures and audit formalities Singhs draft was overhauled although he was associated with the process,sources said.
Documents also question the credibility of Singhs estimate of the 2G loss being merely Rs 2,645 crore when he audited the 2008 allocations under DMK leader A Raja.Singh said he arrived at this figure on the basis of cost inflation index (CII) issued by the finance ministry.This was the additional revenue the government could have received on account of entry fee.
Rai told PAC that both the finance ministry and department of telecom considered the CII an inappropriate parameter to calculate the value as the CII failed to capture the rapid growth of telecom sector.So it was the government itself that dismissed the figure.
Interestingly,Singh said that it was up to individual perceptions whether to treat cost inflation figures as real or not.
Singh and CAG differ on crucial aspects of the events that unfolded during the audit.Singh says he merely forwarded replies received from DoT in August,2010.The submission,perhaps in keeping with his claim that he did not associate with the report after May,2010,is challenged by CAG.
CAG said that replies were scrutinised by Singhs office and a revised report incorporating the replies and further audit comments thereon was forwarded to headquarters in September,2010.


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Was made to sign on 1.76L crore report 

New Delhi: Former CAG official R P Singh,who has created a storm with his statements on the 2G report,on Saturday claimed that his superiors gave him a written order following which he signed on the final report giving a presumptive loss figure of Rs 1.76 lakh crore.
Singh maintained that he had never put the figure of Rs 1.76 lakh crore in his draft report.They (senior CAG officials ) told me that this is the final report and asked me through a written order to sign on it.So I followed the instruction, Singh said.AGENCIES

 

BJP slams Cong for attacks on CAG and PAC 

New Delhi: The BJP on Saturday condemned the continued attack by Congress ministers on constitutional bodies like the CAG and PAC and wondered whether the Prime Minister approved of such criticism by his Cabinet colleagues.
Taking on UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi for her comment against the CAG and questioning her silence about the UPA governments scams,BJP spokesperson Nirmala Sitharaman said,The BJP condemns the non-stop way the Congress party,including its ministers,is out to denigrate institutions. TNN

Tewari invites CAG to open debate on 2G 

TIMES NEWS NETWORK 

Chandigarh: Union minister Manish Tewari on Saturday said the CAG should be ready for an open debate on its report on 2G spectrum allocation.
The nation wants to know how Rs 2,645 crore of loss (in 2G allocation) became a presumptive loss of Rs 1.76 lakh crore.It can happen only if CAG is prepared to debate the entire 2G report at an open public platform of their own choice, the information and broadcasting minister said.Let there be a public debate.Let CAG come and answer because these sensational figures have derailed Indias growth story in the past two years.The 2G report has made public discourse extremely vitiated, he said.Tewari claimed that former CAG official R P Singh had written that the loss in 2G spectrum allocation was only Rs 2,645 crore.Since in principle it was decided that the spectrum allocation was not to be auctioned,the loss estimation was not possible, said Tewari,adding,Now the question arises,how Rs 2,645-crore loss ballooned to Rs 1.76 lakh crore, he said.
He said the debate on 2G spectrum allocation had taken place in the confines of PAC and JPC.Because of the privilege attached to PAC,we are constrained not to make the debate public.Since so many facts have come out in public space,we want to request CAG to hold an open debate over the 2G report, he said.The day Arvind Kejriwal announced the name of his political party as Aam Aadmi Party,Union information and broadcasting minister Manish Tewari said aam aadmi was synonymous with Congress and will remain so.
Asked if the partys aam aadmi slogan has been hijacked by Kejriwal,he said,No one can hijack aam aadmi from Congress.
Tewari,a Congress MP from Ludhiana,said,There are more than 1,450 political parties registered with the Election Commission and one more has been registered.More the merrier.


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Manish Tewari 



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POLITICAL SPECTRUM HEATS UP 
Sonia joins CAG row,cites ex-official to attack BJP 

Oppn Exposed Over Doctored Report: Cong 

TIMES NEWS NETWORK 

New Delhi:Fireworks over the 2G scam continue to light up the political firmament,with Congress chief Sonia Gandhi on Friday wading into the controversy for the first time,saying the opposition BJP has been exposed by a former CAG officials claim that the audit report was doctored.
Yes,I certainly think so, the UPA chairperson said when reporters asked her if ex-CAG official R P Singhs allegation that the 2G report was influenced by Parliaments Public Accounts Committee (PAC) chairperson Murli Manohar Joshi had put the BJP in a spot.
The brief comment was enough to set off a war of words as the government latched onto Singhs comments that a team of officials of the comptroller and auditor general (CAG) had visited Joshis residence to suggest political intrigue in the 2G report alleging a loss of.1.76 lakh crore.
Gandhis intervention was a break from her usual reticence and marked an escalation of hostilities between the ruling coalition and the main opposition as the winter session of Parliament got off to a predictably contentious start.

BJP leader Joshi rejects charges 


Senior BJP leader and the chairman of Parliaments Public Accounts Committee (PAC) Murli Manohar Joshi has rebutted former CAG official R P Singhs claims,saying they were an attempt by the government to tar institutions like PAC and the federal auditor.P 11


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After completing the audit of ministry of telecom... I prepared a draft audit report... (it) did not contain any loss figure 

R P Singh | FORMER DG (POSTS AND TELECOM) IN CAG 



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... In May 2010 when draft (CAG) report was prepared,the loss was quantified at 2,645 crore,but in Nov 2010,this loss jumped 
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to 1.76L crore.How did this leap of faith take place 

Manish Tewari UNION I&B MINISTER 



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This public comment by R P Singh is a very sinister conspiracy.He is a pawn in the hands of Congress and the govt to defame CAG 

Ravi Shankar Prasad BJP 



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CANDID ADMISSION 
83.6 MHz spectrum held back from auction,govt tells court 

TIMES NEWS NETWORK 

New Delhi: The Centre on Thursday admitted it held back 83.6 MHz spectrum from auction but told the Supreme Court that further directions could be issued if something more was needed to be done for full compliance of the February 2 judgment cancelling 122 licences allotted in the 2G band in 2008 and directing their auction.
The government will have to do a lot of explaining on November 26 as the court had sought an affidavit from telecom secretary R Chandrashekhar on the recent auction of 2G spectrum in the wake of Idea Cellulars allegation that the Centre had violated the 2G judgment by holding back 118.6 MHz spectrum in the 1800 MHz band.
A bench of Justices G S Singhvi and K S Radhakrishnan had on Monday said,If even 0.1% of spectrum is kept back,it will not be acceptable.
The bench also said the government had not informed the court anything about holding back spectrum while seeking repeated time extensions of time to comply with the judgments auction mandate.The secretary explained that the decision to hold back some spectrum from auction in 1800 MHz band was guided by the recommendation of Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI),balance between demand and supply of spectrum in the auction process and intention of several operators to wind up business leading to participation of fewer bidders in limited number of service areas.


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Joshi didnt try to influence 2G report: Ex-CAG official 

Retraction By Singh Leaves Govt Red-Faced 

TIMESNEWSNETWORK 

New Delhi:In a dramatic development on Sunday,former Comptroller and Auditor General official R P Singh clarified that he had never claimed that Public Accounts Committee chairman Murli Manohar Joshi influenced the CAG team in calculating a presumptive loss of Rs 1.76 lakh crore in the allocation of 2G spectrum licences.
Singh said he was misquoted by a newspaper.His retraction comes as a huge embarrassment to the government,given how his purported disclosure led to the ruling Congress attributing political motives to the CAG arriving at a massive presumptive loss figure and the BJP accusing Singh of batting for the government.
The former CAG official also rejected the contention that the Congress had put him up to defend the government on the 2G report.Singh said he had no connection with the UPA nor did he have any interaction with it.Whatever I have said is not politically motivated and (my conscience) is very clear on that account, he said.
Following Singhs purported disclosure earlier,Congress president Sonia Gandhi had spoken of a BJP conspiracy behind the 2G spectrum scam figure in what was a barely veiled attack on the CAG itself.The auditor's statement has turned the tables on the BJP.The BJP stands exposed, she had said.
Singh,who as former DG audit (telecom) headed the team which prepared the CAG report on allocation of 2G spectrum licences,has been in the eye of a storm ever since he claimed that he never suggested the loss figure that went into final print.He said had mentioned a loss of Rs 2,600 crore in his report.
The former CAG official was later quoted by a newspaper as claiming that the PAC chairman had taken undue interest in finalization of the report that finally mooted a presumptive loss of Rs 1.76 lakh crore.

CONFUSION GALORE 


On Nov 23,former CAG official R P Singh quoted in a newspaper report as saying PAC chairman Murli Manohar Joshi suggested one of the methodologies for arriving at 2G loss figure,which was used in CAG report 
Cong chief Sonia Gandhi seizes upon the report,says BJP has been exposed.Cong says Joshi must answer question of propriety 
On Nov 25,R P Singh says he spoke of a PAC official,not Joshi,and was misquoted I do remember that there is documentary statement where it is stated a member of PAC had asked to calculate losses using a particular formula.I cannot confirm the name,but I can confirm the content 

R P SIngh 



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Ex-CAG official does a U-turn,says he was misquoted 

New Delhi: Former Comptroller and Auditor General official R P Singh on Sunday clarified that he had never claimed that Public Accounts Committee chairman Murli Manohar Joshi influenced the CAG team in calculating a presumptive loss of Rs 1.76 lakh crore in the allocation of 2G spectrum licences.
Singh said that he was misquoted by the newspaper.I said a member of PAC... It has misquoted me, he said.This claim has been made in a newspaper report.I do remember that there is documentary statement where it is stated a member of PAC had asked to calculate loss using a particular formula.I cannot confirm the name,but I can confirm the content, Singh added while still maintaining that he was coerced into signing the final report.

Retired CAG officers ready for debate: 


Reacting to UPA ministers demand for a debate on the R P Singh controversy,retired officers of the federal auditor have expressed their keenness to join the discussion.
If the UPA ministers who have been outdone on television debates are still desiring a public debate,we the retired senior officers of CAG -- are willing for such a discussion on any platform of their choice.After all,their star performer is also a retired Indian Audit & Accounts Service officer, said B S Gill,former deputy CAG,in a statement on behalf of retired officials.


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CBI hasnt estimated 2G loss: Director 

Says Figure Is Notional,Gives An Estimate of Likely Cost Of Spectrum 

Neeraj Chauhan TNN 

New Delhi: Singling out the 2G scam as the biggest case of his tenure,outgoing CBI chief A P Singh said the agency has not arrived at a loss estimate due to allocation of spectrum below market rates although it has mentioned a notional figure of Rs 30,000 crore in its chargesheet.The agency has not arrived at any loss figures in the 2G scam, Singh said,adding that the Rs 30,000 crore mentioned in the CBI chargesheet was just a notional figure that could have been the price of the spectrum.
While the figure is notional,it gives an estimate of the likely cost of spectrum,he said.The 2G airwaves netted around Rs 10,000 crore in 2008 at the 2001 rate of Rs 1,658 crore per licence.
The CBI chief s statement comes amid the ongoing controversy over former CAG official R P Singhs allegation that he did not agree with the audit report on 2G spectrum allocation pegging the notional loss at a maximum of Rs 1.76 lakh crore.
Congress and government have cited Singhs claim and poor returns from the recent auction of 2G spectrum to claim that the Oppositions campaign against the scam is ill-founded and politically motivated.
The CBI chief s remarks may give the government some more talking points even though the agencys case is that illegal gains were made.A good part of the agencys argument rests on the sale of licences without any effort to discover the price in 2008.
I would say 2G definitely, Singh said,when asked of his biggest cases.He explained it was a complex case that was also monitored by Supreme Court.Asked why the agency arrested only a few persons such as A Raja and Shahid Balwa,and left out senior executives of some telecom companies,he explained,we dont have a policy of arresting everybody,besides Raja and Balwa were not cooperating during investigation.
Singh,during whose tenure saw several major scandals like 2G,Adarsh,Tatra,Commonwealth Games,coal block allocation being investigated by the agency,was speaking at the CBI headquarters.Ranjit Sinha,a 1974 batch IPS officer,will take over as the next CBI director.
About the loss figures given in its 2G chargesheet,the CBI director said that they had arrived at Rs 30,000 crore as 3.5 times of the indexed price of 2001.But we had not termed it as loss.It was a notional figure that this could have been the price, Singh said.
While taking charge two years ago Singh had said that the agency would not hesitate to take action against anybody,howsoever powerful they are,if evidence emerges.He had also assumed charge promising transparency in the functioning of the CBI.These comments were made in the backdrop of the impending actions in 2G,Adarsh and CWG cases against the high-profile accused.In the two years that followed,we have by and large,tried to keep these commitments, Singh said.


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Unwell Radia may not appear in court on Dec 5 

TIMES NEWS NETWORK 

New Delhi: Former corporate lobbyist Niira Radia,a prosecution witness in the 2G spectrum allocation scam who was supposed to appear before the court on December 5,may not be able to come as she has undergone a surgery.The prosecution on Tuesday told the court that Radia has informed that she has undergone a surgery related to a neurological problem and may not be able to come on December 5,when she is supposed to depose before the court.
Meanwhile,a counsel for two accused in the case was on Tuesday fined Rs 250 by the court for unnecessary objections during the proceeding to delay the trial.Special CBI judge O P Saini imposed the cost on advocate Vijay Aggarwal,counsel for accused Rajiv Agarwal and Asif Balwa,both directors of Kusegaon Fruits and Vegetables Pvt Ltd,after he objected to CBI prosecutor A K Singh showing some documents to a prosecution witness S Meenakshi,a deputy registrar of companies (ROC) at Chennai.
Aggarwal raised objection when Singh showed the witness some documents,including copies of audit reports,balance sheet and other documents of Kalaignar TV (P) Ltd for the year ending on March 31,2008.The defence counsel objected to it saying the documents shown to the witness were photocopies and there was no certificate attached with it under the provisions of the Evidence Act and also that it was not authenticated in terms of the provisions of the Companies Act.
The prosecutor countered Aggarwal's objection saying the documents belonged to Kalaignar TV (P) Ltd and no objection has been raised regarding this by the accused concerned Kumar and DMK MP Kanimozhi.The court imposed the fine on Aggarwal saying,In this case,not only the documents have been certified but the officer of ROC herself is present in the court to prove the documents.The objection has been taken just to delay the trial and is overruled with cost of Rs 250.


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2G scam: Shalini Singh should publish the copy of Chandrasekhar's 4 December 2007 letter to PM

Dec. 18, 2012

Dear Shalini Singh ji,

Congrats for the remarkable scoop. http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/former-cab-secs-letter-gave-pm-option-to-hike-2g-price-stop-scam/article4210504.ece?homepage=true

It is a pity you have chosen not to publish a photocopy of the full letter. It is so important to get to the truth and reaffirm your credibility that the letter copy should be published in full so that there is no hide-and-seek game among the agencies 'investigating' the nation's 2G scam.

Methinks, media owes this to the nation.

Best wishes, Dr. S. Kalyanaraman

2G: Ex-Cabinet Secy’s letter shows PM failed to stop scam
by R Jagannathan 52 mins ago Dec. 18, 2012

He may have recently reclaimed the title of born-again reformer, but the image of Manmohan Singh as the man who wrung his hands in despair while A Raja robbed his treasury refuses to go away. In fact, it has come back looking truer than ever.

As early as September last year, Firstpost documented how both the PM and Finance Minister P Chidambaram could have stopped Raja from issuing telecom licences and spectrum at 2001 prices if they had wanted to. Even though Raja announced the issue of licences on 10 January 2008, it was not till the end of February that the actual letters of intent were issued. The PM and the FM had time to act, but didn’t.

MANMOHANSINGH1.jpgNow there is more evidence that Raja’s actions could not have taken the PM by surprise, but that he actually failed to act on warnings from his senior-most officials. AFP

Now there is more evidence that Raja’s actions could not have taken the PM by surprise, but that he actually failed to act on warnings from his senior-most officials.

Early this October, former Cabinet Secretary KM Chandrashekhar told the Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) probing the 2G spectrum scam that he had warned Manmohan Singh that if Raja’s spectrum prices were not revised due to higher demand and inflation, the exchequer would lose Rs 35,000 crore.

A report in The Hindu today gives us further details about how the PM failed to do his duty by ignoring his Cabinet Secretary’s advice.

According to Chandrashekhar’s calculations, the real value of a pan-India 2G licence with 4.4 Mhz of in-built spectrum should be Rs 8,700 crore and not the Rs 1,658 crore decided by Raja. This figure of Rs 8,700 crore for 4.4 Mhz compares quite well with the price of Rs 14,000 crore for 5 Mhz fixed for this year’s auction – i.e. nearly four-and-a-half years later – which was widely deemed a flop. By purley inflation-indexing Chandrashekhar’s figure, the 2012-end price could be close to Rs 14,000 crore.

The newspaper reports that Chandrashekhar’s letter to the PM was written on 4 December 2007 – more than a month before Raja gave his licences. He wrote that prices need to be indexed to increase spectrum fees. His reasoning? “All asset prices have increased substantially over the last six years, with inflation being about 34 percent. In the case of spectrum, the quantum allocated has increased by around 40 percent over this period, while teledensity has become 5-1/2 times. On this basis, the value of Rs 1,650 crore paid in 2001 becomes (1,650 x 1.34 x 5-1/2 divided by 1.4) = Rs 8,700 crore, ie, about Rs 7,000 crore higher”.

The revenue loss figure of Rs 35,000 crore mentioned by Chandrashekhar came from the fact that there was enough spectrum to give licences to at least five new operators (with an initial 4.4 Mhz each). Thus the Rs 7,000 crore loss on each licence with spectrum would work out to Rs 35,000 crore for five licensees.

Chandrashekhar’s letter is damaging not only to the PM’s credibility, but the Congress party’s repeated claim that there was no loss from Raja’s decisions. After the recent auctions drew few bidders, Communications Minister Kapil Sibal, P Chidambaram and I&B Minister Manish Tewari were quick to attack the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) for his own higher loss calculations. “Where the Rs 1.76 lakh crore, Mr CAG?” they asked in unison.

Firstpost has already explained that the Rs 1.76 lakh crore “presumptive loss” was only one of the four potential loss estimates given by CAG Vinod Rai. To this, Chandrashekar adds his own loss estimates of Rs 35,000 crore.

Clearly, the PM and the government knew there would be a potential revenue loss, but they continued to pretend there was no loss by acquiescing with Raja’s nefarious plan.

Chandrashekhar’s letter, quoted in The Hindu, rubs it in better than even the CAG. He wrote to the PM: “The fact that the market considers this asset under-priced (can be seen) by the long queue for fresh licences, the alacrity with which Reliance and two other firms paid up the fee when allowed to do so (within a few hours). SingTel has, as per media reports, made an offer of Rs 5,000 crore for the licence (bundled with the initial 4.4 Mhz spectrum), while Mr Ratan Tata offered in 2005 to pay Rs 5,000 crore for 5 Mhz (3G) spectrum”.

The CAG was working on the right track, even though the actual loss would depend on market conditions.

Chandrashekhar’s letter proves that everyone who had anything to do with the 2G spectrum auction doesn’t have a figleaf left to cover themselves with.

http://www.firstpost.com/business/2g-ex-cabinet-secys-letter-shows-pm-failed-to-stop-scam-561254.html


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Kalaignar TV chief quits,replaced by Karunas relative 

TIMES NEWS NETWORK 

Chennai: In a shake-up in the DMK-owned Kalaignar TV,which was linked to 2G spectrum payoffs by CBI,well known TV personality M Ramesh Prabha resigned as president,citing personal reasons.
He had taken over as the president,replacing Sharad Kumar,who was arrested in the 2G spectrum scam,along with DMK chief M Karunanidhis daughter Kanimozhi.Prabha served the company for 11 months,though he had a year-long contract.P Amritham,a relative of Karunanidhi and a witness in the 2G spectrum case,is likely to take over as the president.
Prabha has several business interests,including a business school and a media company,Galaxy Communication,which produces programmes for television channels,including Kalaignar TV.For the last 11 months,my wife has been taking care of our business ventures and it was a burden for her.That is why I decided to quit, Prabha told TOI.I want to devote more attention to my business.I have informed Karunanidhi and with his blessings I have quit Kalaignar TV, he said.
Dismissing charges that he had diverted funds from Kalaignar TV to his own company,Prabha said,As per the package at the time of joining the channel,I had the authority to produce programmes for Kalaignar TV in my companys name.It was a part of my perks.There is nothing fishy about it and everything is in black and white. 
DMK spokesperson and Lok Sabha MP T K S Elangovan said,Prabha wanted to concentrate on his business so he quit.The party has nothing to do with his resignation, Elangovan said.


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2G scam: Under Supreme Court’s nose, conspiracy hatched to destroy 2G case; leaked call transcripts

 
NEW DELHI, February 18, 2013
More skeletons tumble out of leaked 2G call transcripts

SHALINI SINGH
2g_1367474f.jpg
CBI prosecutor in touch with second accused Balwa; CBI cherry-picks from CAG’s list of ineligible applicants

New evidence suggests that the CBI’s 2G prosecution case could be even more severely compromised. Detailed call transcripts of a conversation, allegedly between the CBI’s prosecutor A.K. Singh and the key accused, Unitech Managing Director, Sanjay Chandra, reveal that the prosecutor was additionally in discussion with a second key accused Shahid Balwa of Swan Telecom.

Private TV channel CNN-IBN, which had exclusive access to some parts of the conversation, had telecast the contents on February 12.

An analysis of the Call Transcription in the Preliminary Enquiry (PE) no. 1(A) 13/AC-III/ New Delhi now shows that prosecutor Singh, by his own admission, had been in communication with Mr. Balwa either directly or through a third party. Mr. Singh further cited judgments favouring the accused, obliquely suggesting that these should be used by defence counsel to destroy the prosecution’s case.

An investigative story by The Hindu ‘Right under Supreme Court’s nose, conspiracy hatched to destroy 2G case’ published on February 13, 2012, had shown that DoT officials named in the tapes — B.B. Singh, then DDG Licence Fee, and A.K. Srivastav, then DDG Access Services — had a crucial exchange three days before the 2G scam, which was perpetrated on January 7, 2008.

Mr. B.B. Singh had alerted Mr. Srivastav that the paid-up capital required for a pan-India licence was Rs. 138 crore and not Rs. 10 crore. Despite 85 licensees becoming ineligible on this account, Mr. Srivastav processed their applications, enabling them to fraudulently access LoIs and later, spectrum.

These revelations throw up previously unknown acts of omission and commission of individuals in positions of authority — both within and outside the CBI — who have systematically been compromising the CBI case. This evidence additionally calls for a review of some government witnesses/approvers, since the full call transcripts reveal that they may have committed illegal acts, independent of ex-Telecom Minister A. Raja, his Personal Secretary R.K. Chandolia and the then Telecom Secretary S. Behura — so far, the only three accused from the Telecom Ministry.

It now turns out that CBI prosecutor Singh, who admits to being in regular dialogue with Mr. Balwa, was worried that the latter following a different legal strategy could damage his own attempts to help out Mr. Chandra and possibly others as well.

While discussing the case, Mr. Singh allegedly told Mr. Chandra (Hindi to English translation of call transcription): “Balwa is damaging the trial. God give him wisdom. He is preparing a noose around his neck and also damaging others alongside... don’t know… Have explained to him a thousand times…”

Chandra: “He has improved in comparison to the past...”

Singh: “Don’t know what is the problem, can’t fathom. I… don’t know, what he thinks of himself? …a little… has to be told…”

Despite Mr. Chandra’s assurance that Mr. Balwa had improved, Mr. Singh remained unconvinced and sceptical.

There is good reason for Mr. Singh and Mr. Chandra to worry about Mr. Balwa. The 63-page CBI charge sheet, dated April 2, 2011, co-accuses Unitech (Chandra) and Swan (Balwa), under each of the five charges relating to “(A) Investigation about Cut-off date, (B) Investigation into violation of First-Come-First-Served Policy, (C) Dual Technology Approvals and Spectrum Allocation, (D) Eligibility of Companies, and (E) Cheating the Government Exchequer by Non-Revision of Entry Fee.” Most of the charges are identical, though Mr. Chandra is an accused under Section 420 of the IPC, while Mr. Balwa is accused of offences punishable under Sections 420, 468 and 471 of the IPC.

Another part of the call transcript, which has not been aired in its entirety so far, relates to the favourable judgments that Mr. Singh is citing which, according to him, if used after securing the testimony of the government’s star witness, Mr. Srivastav, will not only overrule all other government witnesses but will eventually destroy the case altogether.

(Hindi to English translation of call transcription):

A.K. Singh: “Yes…Srivastav will state that Sir, for DoT, the approval of the shareholders is mandatory before the application…. and that…. its prima facie a company.”

Chandra: “That’s all?”

Singh: “After looking, this is what he will state…”

Chandra: “Rao sahib can get our work done. There is no problem…”

Singh: “Kambuj is a third person. His findings are not binding on DoT. For that, I have a brilliant judgment. Unlikely anyone else has that judgment, which states that the Department that formulates a guideline can interpret it in 10 different ways. Whatever is DoT’s understanding is being testified by their own witness and in future that alone will be sustainable. I dealt with a typical issue… In U.P., let me tell you… even though it’s extremely unfortunate that the entire defence counsel has not been able to cite this judgment. It’s an interesting judgment about petrol pumps of Indian Oil… in which…”

Mr. Singh assures Mr. Chandra, later in the same conversation, that he needn’t worry about Mr. Srivastav’s testimony since on the issue of eligibility, Mr. Srivastav would deliver an unabashed statement to help Mr. Chandra’s case.

The transcription further throws up a new character called “Rao sahib” who Mr. Chandra believes will assist in delivering government witness Srivastav’s testimony to dilute the case against Mr. Chandra.

These revelations, including that Mr. Singh is encouraging the defence lawyers to cite judgments against the prosecution while additionally assuring the accused of a favourable testimony from the prosecution’s star witness, show the extent to which the rot has set in the prosecution’s case, which is being heard daily in a special CBI court.

The last piece of evidence emerging from the Singh-Chandra exchange is on how to get past the eligibility accusation faced by Unitech in which Mr. Chandra feared an adverse testimony by Mr. Kambuj who prepared the RoC report. Investigation by The Hindu shows that Unitech, according to the CAG, had violated eligibility criteria across six different guidelines in each of its 22 applications. Altogether, the CAG pointed to 85 licences being in violation of the eligibility conditions (see chart on Page 1).

The Supreme Court’s order of December 16, 2010, invoking the CAG report, had expressly directed the CBI to investigate how ineligible companies received LoIs/licences, including the role of DoT officials in granting such licences. This was especially significant since out of 232 qualifying applications on the cut-off date of September 25, 2007, 110 were found ineligible by the same officials who allowed 85 faulty applications through the door.

Yet, the CBI charge sheet restricts its observations to Swan and Unitech, while ignoring the eligibility violations by Loop, Alliance, Videocon and S Tel, all of which, according to the CAG, were guilty of accessing spectrum fraudulently. The CBI charge sheet also makes no mention of guilty officials, who have all been converted into witnesses. It is unclear whether the officials who selectively processed ineligible applications did so independently or under directions from Mr. Raja.

This new evidence reveals that despite filing status reports through the CVC and being under the Supreme Court’s supervision, the prosecution’s case has been extensively damaged by the CBI’s weak charge sheets, aided by a team of compromised prosecutors and witnesses.

http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/more-skeletons-tumble-out-of-leaked-2g-call-transcripts/article4425555.ece?homepage=true

NEW DELHI, February 13, 2013
Under Supreme Court’s nose, conspiracy hatched to destroy 2G case

SHALINI SINGH

Tapes suggest prosecutor, accused and star witness colluded to vitiate SC directions to CBI

The exposure of an apparent conspiracy between the CBI prosecutor in the 2G scam investigation, A.K. Singh, and the accused Unitech Managing Director, Sanjay Chandra, could have grave consequences since it reveals a deliberate attempt to pull the wool over the Supreme Court’s eyes under whose supervision the entire investigation and prosecution has been occurring since December 16, 2010.

The leaked conversation leads the matter beyond the prosecutor and accused to involve star prosecution witness A.K. Srivastav, who was otherwise liable to face a jail term, along with the former Telecom Minister, A. Raja, the former DoT Secretary, S. Behura, and the former private secretary to Mr Raja, R.K. Chandolia.

The recordings suggest that Mr. Singh was colluding to help Mr. Chandra by not only discussing the CBI’s legal strategy but in fact overruling internal instructions on what questions to ask, pre-deciding their sequence to suit the accused and on whether to call B.B. Singh, DDG (Licence Fee) of the DoT’s Finance Division, for cross-questioning, versus A.K. Srivastav, DDG (Access Services). It is clear from the taped conversation that Mr. Singh and Mr. Chandra believe that using Mr. Srivastav’s testimony would help destroy the prosecution’s own case in three stages, including one that relates to Unitech obtaining licences and spectrum in spite of being ineligible.

The CAG, in its report of December 16, 2010, stated that 85 of the 122 licences granted to 13 companies by the DoT were ineligible. For Unitech, it detailed in pages 35-41, the manner in which the company had provided “false” and “fictitious” certificates on authorised share capital and misrepresented facts. The CAG said: “Their conditional registration by the ROC was a fraudulent act of these 6 companies with mala fide intention of obtaining the UAS licences for 20 service areas by misleading DoT.”

Slamming DoT officials as well, the CAG wrote: “It would thus appear that the DoT miserably failed to do the necessary due diligence in the examination of the applications of these applicants though they took more than 3-9 months to process these applications as against a prescribed period of 30 days.” It was Mr. Srivastav and his team which, while rejecting roughly 100 applications, certified these applications for grant of LoIs, overriding internal written warnings of the finance division on page 28 N of File No: 20-100/2007-AS-I.

SC direction vitiated

The Supreme Court, after hearing the PIL, which had forced the CBI to finally act in November 2010, leading to the arrest of Mr. Raja in February 2011, had specifically directed the CBI to investigate the issue of “ineligible applicants,” who fraudulently accessed licences.

The court, taking cognizance of the CAG report, also directed investigation against DoT officials involved in grant of licences to ineligible firms. It said: “The CBI shall conduct a thorough investigation into various issues highlighted in the report of the CVC which was forwarded to Director, CBI, vide letter dated 12-10-2009 and in the report of the CAG who have prima facie found serious irregularities in the grant of licences to 122 applicants, majority of whom are said to be ineligible, the blatant violation of terms and conditions of licence and huge loss to public exchequer running into several thousand crores. CBI should also probe how new licences were granted to large number of ineligible applicants and who was responsible for the same and why the TRAI and DoT did not take action against those licensees who sold their stake/equities for many thousand crores and also those who failed to fulfil rollout obligations and comply with other conditions of licence.”

This meant that the CBI should have indicted Mr. Srivastav and members of the AS cell. However, instead, the CBI turned him into the star government witness, closely mirroring an approver. The conspiracy of the quid pro quo, uncovered by the tapes, reveals that the testimony of the government witness was to be used to acquit a key accused with the help of a complicit prosecutor — who was focussed on what he would get paid if he was representing the corporates instead of the government. Mr. Chandra’s acquittal of charges of obtaining licences on ineligible applications would have collapsed the case while additionally exonerating DoT officials of charges of collusion.

CBI-Srivastav-Chandra collude

An investigation into the case files by The Hindu shows that Mr. Srivastav had bypassed written warnings by Mr. B. B. Singh, DDG (LF), whose name also appears in the tapes, that “accordingly all service areas licence equity required is Rs.138 crores and not ten crores as per the UASL guidelines 2005.” On January 7, 2008, Mr. Srivastav, ignoring this noting and the knowledge that several companies, especially Unitech, did not meet the criteria on the date of application i.e. September 24, 2007 (as was later disclosed by CAG), processed the file leading to grant of 122 LoIs, which included 22 granted to Unitech’s eight different companies. (See table).

The CAG, which discovered the fraud, said of Unitech in its December 16, 2010 audit report: “Eight applicants belonging to Unitech Group (Brand name Uninor) had been incorporated in August-September 2007 with an authorised share capital of 5 lakh each. All these eight companies passed the special resolutions for increase in the authorised share capital between 2 PM to 5 PM on 20 September 2007 in the extra-ordinary general meetings of the respective companies and deposited the requisite stamp duties on 3 October 2007 for increase in the authorised share capital. After they submitted the requisite applications along with the proof of payment of stamp duties on 5 October 2007, the certificate of the registration of the increase in the authorised share capital was issued by the ROC only on 8/11 October 2007. Thus the claim of the higher paid up capital of these companies on the date of submission i.e. 24 September and the supporting certificates of the company secretaries of these companies submitted along with their applications was false and fictitious.” The conspiracy was hatched to avoid prosecution of Mr. Chandra and DoT officials relating to this paragraph read with the SC directions of December 2010.

The conspiracy

In effect, an independent investigation and prosecution should have been launched against Mr. Srivastav and his officers. However, the CBI instead converted him into a prosecution witness. The CBI prosecutor is now using that favour to have him give statements which, according to Mr.A.K. Singh, is the only one that “will matter.” So despite contrary reports by officers of ROC (the leaked tape mentions one Mr. Kambuj), the case was to be destroyed using Mr. Srivastav’s testimony. Mr. Singh even cited a Supreme Court judgement to buttress this case in the alleged tele-conversation with Mr. Chandra.

The apparent conspiracy as recorded on tape appears to be an attempt to circumvent explicit directions of the Supreme Court, since the main accused within the DoT — Mr. Srivastav — has not been charged for processing 85 ineligible applications — including 22 of Unitech. And now, according to the tapes, the prosecutor, the prosecution witness and the accused are doing one another favours to deliver weak, pre-planned and favourable testimonies to dilute and eventually collapse the case which helps all parties, and most of all the government whose reputation is at stake. Since converting Mr. Srivastav into a prosecution witness rather than keeping him as a key accused remains within the discretionary powers of the CBI, it becomes clear as to why prosecutor Mr. Singh and the accused Mr. Chandra have such confidence in the favourable testimony of Mr. Srivastav in this sensitive case.


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http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/under-supreme-courts-nose-conspiracy-hatched-to-destroy-2g-case/article4408402.ece


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SPECTRUMPED 
Use of different inks only matter of chance: Raja 

Rajeev Deshpande TNN 

New Delhi: A discrepancy in inks used by former telecom minister A Raja to approve a controversial press release allegedly slanting 2G norms was only a matter of chance;the DMK leader has told the Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) probing the scam.
Defending himself against the charge that a crucial paragraph was deleted surreptitiously,Raja has come up with an interesting,if not ingenuous explanation: The sentence approving the amended release was written after a superfluous condition was brought to his notice.
Aware the charge that he did away with the date of application as a criterion for allocation can be damning,Raja denied he saw the file more than once to make a deletion after it had been seen by then solicitor general Goolam Vahanvati.
Vahanvatis testimony to the JPC became a trigger in the Congress-DMK spat.Although the law officers appearance was opposed by some in Congress who feared its fallout,the party top brass was well aware about the likely nature of Vahanvatis deposition.
As anyone who would have dealt with governmental files would know,at any given time there are a number of pens kept on the ministers desk,and it is purely a matter of chance as to which one he happens to pick up, Raja has informed the committee.
The DMK leader claims that the entire note was written before the file was marked to the telecom secretary who in turn marked it to the SG. Rajas claim is strongly contested by government sources who said the remark press release appd as amended is an interpolation and the sentences even overwrite Rajas signature.They point out that although the DMK leader did not need any clearance on the press release,he was attempting to ensure legitimacy for his actions.
Sources said that as solicitor general,Vahanvati noted that procedures were transparent and in order because he had seen all four paragraphs of the press release,the last of which said,However,if more than one applicant complies with LOI condition on the same date,the inter se seniority would be decided by the date of the application.


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