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The Spectrum Tussle - Cdma V Gsm

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Singhvi opts out of panel on 2G probe

Unlike BJP leaders Yashwant Sinha and Jaswant Singh, who agreed to be part of the JPC probing the 2G scam, the Congress’s Rajya Sabha member Abhishek Singhvi is understood to have chosen to keep himself out of it. The Lok Sabha has already approved the motion and the terms of reference of the JPC, including the names of 20 MPs from the Lower House. The motion is slated to come up on Tuesday for Rajya Sabha’s endorsement.

The panel will have 10 MPs from the Upper House.

Sources said that besides Singhvi, the other two Congress members who were sounded out were PJ Kurien and Pravin Rashtrapal.

Singhvi reportedly chose to stay out because he had appeared against NDA’s telecom policy under Pramod Mahajan and Arun Shourie in court.

Once the panel is constituted, the Congress and its allies are expected to make a big issue of the inclusion of Singh and Sinha in the JPC.

As finance ministers, these two leaders had headed the group of the ministers looking into the BJP-NDA’s telecom policy which is now part of the JPC’s terms of reference. The panel will examine the telecom policy since 1998.

Besides BJP’s SS Ahluwalia and Ravi Shankar Prasad (who was also in the GoM), the JPC members from Rajya Sabha are likely to include Sitaram Yechury (CPM), Dr YP Trivedi (NCP) and SC Mishra (BSP).

source :: http://www.hindustantimes.com/rssfeed/NewDelhi/Singhvi-opts-out-of-panel-on-2G-probe/Article1-667948.aspx

It's utter shame on the part of BJP to include Yashwant Sinha and Jaswant Singh.

At the time, when we think India is moving better to deal with corruption, it's just non-sense to see the alleged culprits themselves manning the jury.

Just because they're jobless now, there's no necessity for them to sit in JPC which is formed to look into the alleged irregularities committed by them.

Indians expected much more polished behavior from these so called "seasoned" politicians.

It would be better for them to opt out on their own rather than made to do so by other parties.

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Supreme Court warns media on reporting of 2G case

The Supreme Court disagreed with Tata Teleservices'' plea to conduct an in-camera hearing in the second-generation mobile telephony spectrum case and that the media be restrained from reporting the proceedings.

Senior advocate Harish Salve, who was waiting to appear for Tata's in another related matter before a Bench of Justices GS Singhvi and AK Ganguly, made a plea in this regard when allegations were being made against the Tata's during the hearing of the matter in which the CBI probe is being done.

"These (companies) are the large corporations and it affects their reputation. What CBI finds out in probe would be revealed only when the charge sheet is filed. But so many things have come up in the media," Salve said when CBI and advocate Prashant Bhushan were arguing on the matter in which Tata is not a party.

He further said the media should be restrained from publishing documents which are being filed by different parties in the court.

The bench, however, disagreed with his plea saying "open media and open trial are important and we don't want to dilute it".

"Everyone respects the media and all of us presume that the media would behave in a responsible manner."The court would not restrain the media and it is expected that it does not behave in a manner to force us to restrain it," the bench said.

The court was hearing a 2G spectrum allocation scam in which it had directed CBI probe and it has been monitoring the investigation.

source :: http://telecomtiger.com/PolicyNRegulation_fullstory.aspx?storyid=10775&flag=1&passfrom=topstory&section=S174

Sibal favours CAG audit on spectrum availability

Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal, announced that he is in favour of the Comptroller and Auditor General’s (CAG) proposal to conduct an audit of the total available spectrum in the country with a focus on how much was allocated to private operators from 2000 onwards and at what cost.

“We support spectrum sharing and audit,” Sibal said .

According to reports, CAG has sought details from the Department of Telecom (DoT) on the total available spectrum in the country and how much has been allocated to private telecom operators from 2000 onwards and at what value.

DoT is also conducting a study on the availability of spectrum and the quantum of allocations made till date to various operators and government agencies.

Referring to the tussle between operators on spectrum allocation, Mr Sibal is of the view that instead of exchanging heated words, the telcos should instead work together for the further growth of the sector.

“There should be corporate collaboration, not corporate rivalry,” he said.

source :: http://telecomtiger.com/PolicyNRegulation_fullstory.aspx?passfrom=breakingnews&storyid=10766&section=S174

GSM Cartel(Airtel,Idea & Vodafone) approaches SC in Dual-Tech case

Leading GSM telecom operators Airtel, Vodafone and Idea along with their association COAI approached the Supreme Court with a plea to be made in the case relating to 2G spectrum allocation scam which is being probed by the CBI.

Senior Advocate Fali S Nariman, appearing for them, submitted before a bench comprising justices G S Singhvi and A K Ganguly that they should be heard in the matter as they have challenged the Centre''s policy of allocating GSM spectrum to CDMA operators under dual technology to service providers like Reliance Communication and Tata Teleservices.

It was alleged that the two companies were alloted GSM spectrum under the dual technology regime ignoring several applicants who had applied before them for the licence.

"It is in the interest of justice that the applicants be permitted to intervene at the hearing and to make appropriate submission especially the submission that the investigation by the CBI should not in any way be influenced by the TDSAT judgement (allowing the use of dual technology)," the GSM lobby group COAI along with leading operators -- Airtel, Vodafone and Idea -- said in its application.

It is pointed out in the application that GSM telecom operators and Cellulor Operators Association of India should be allowed to present their views before the court as the CBI is also probing into the loss caused to the public exchequer due to the government decision of allowing use of dual technology.

It pleaded that the government decision was illegal, arbitrary and was intended for the benefit of a few telecom companies.

The impleadment application was however opposed by the Reliance Infocom and Tata Teleservices which pleaded that there was no need to implede COAI and other GSM operators.

source :: http://telecomtiger.com/PolicyNRegulation_fullstory.aspx?storyid=10771&flag=1&passfrom=topstory&section=S174

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Sibal to meet telcos next week to discuss spectrum issues, M&A

NEW DELHI: Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal is likely to meet industry players next week in order to reach a consensus on issues, including licencing, spectrum allocation, spectrum sharing and mergers and acquisition.

"The Minister will meet the telecom industry players next week on March 8 in order to hold consultations to evolve a "clear and transparent" regime covering licencing, spectrum allocation, tariffs/pricing, linkage with roll-out performance, spectrum sharing, trading and, mergers and acquisition," a source in the know said.

The meeting is part of Sibal's efforts to achieve the 100-day plan for reforms in the telecoms sector in consultation with the industry.

Executives from telecom companies like Bharti airtel , Vodafone , Reliance Communications are likely to be the part of the meeting, source added.

Sibal had in January this year announced formulation of a new and comprehensive National Telecom Policy 2011.

The Minister will also discuss a series of proposals on spectrum such as its pricing, capping the amount of airwaves a telco can hold, methodology for awarding additional spectrum and reworking the usage fee for this resource.

Sharing of spectrum and reframing of this resource is another prominent item on the agenda.

Further, other proposals involve initiating discussions on renewal of mobile permits and replacing the rollout obligations with a new methodology to measure if companies are extending their networks

Courtesy: ET

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FCFS is not correct policy, auction is. FCFS means incumbent operators have benefit which newer operators will not. TRAI should implement pro-competition policies like in developed countries. I could explain further but no point as no one from TRAI will read this.

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Reversal is true.

Auction can never be helpful for new players.

There could be something somewhere which is better than FCFS as far as pro-competitive is concerned but certainly not the auction.

Edited by kesav

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Raja & 3 others judicial custody extended till March 17

A Delhi court extended the judicial custody of former Telecom Minister A Raja and three others, arrested for their alleged involvement in the 2G spectrum allocation scam, till March 17.

Raja appeared before the court through video conferencing while his former Personal Secretary R K Chandolia, former Telecom Secretary Siddarth Behura and Swan Telecom promoter Shahid Usman Balwa were present in person after the expiry of their judicial custody.

Special CBI Judge O P Saini extended the judicial custody of the trio after hearing their arguments.

"All three accused are remanded to judicial custody till March 17," the judge said after CBI said the investigation into the case was not complete.

The court, after hearing the arguments for Behura, Balwa and Chandolia, held the proceedings for extension of Raja''s judicial custody in Tihar jail separately in the video conferencing room at Patiala House Court.

As the proceedings started, Raja greeted the judge and marked his presence, after which the court extended his remand by two weeks.

Balwa moved an application through his counsel Vijay Aggarwal, submitting that he is required to be examined by specialist doctors for orthopedic and gastric problems.

"He (Balwa) has already been examined at the jail dispensary and he needs to be checked by specialist doctors," Aggarwal said.

He insisted that Balwa should get treatment at any government hospital.

The judge said there is a procedure to be followed in such cases as per which he would have to be examined at the jail dispensary followed by jail hospital and, if needed, he would be treated at a recognised hospital.

source :: http://telecomtiger.com/PolicyNRegulation_fullstory.aspx?passfrom=breakingnews&storyid=10776&section=S174

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GSM operators to surrender excess spectrum during renewal in 2014

New Delhi : All leading GSM operators will have to give up 'excess' airwaves they have when their mobile permits come up for renewal beginning 2014. This implies companies such as Bharti Airtel, Vodafone Essar and Idea Cellular, among others, which currently have up to 10 MHz or units of 2G airwaves in many regions, will be given only 6.2 units of radio frequencies when they renew their permits, according to a telecom department internal note reviewed by ET. Besides, telecom companies will also have to pay market rates for this 6.2 MHz of airwaves in every region when they renew their licences.

This has already been communicated to all mobile phone companies. "On renewal, spectrum is to be assigned maximum up to the prescribed limit. Value of spectrum to be paid separately," said a telecom department's letter that was sent to all service providers last week. Communications minister Kapil Sibal would be engaging the industry in a full-fledged discussion beginning this week.

At present, telcos hold separate permits for each of the 22 circles in the country and these are valid for a period of 20 years. The government gave away mobile permits from mid-90s. About 11 mobile phone companies will have to renew their permits between 2014 and 2021.

These developments come even as GSM operators maintain they don't hold any 'excess' airwaves. India's telecom sector has been mired in a controversy regarding the pricing of 'excess' second generation spectrum, used for basic mobile services since 2008. These companies - notably Bharti Airtel, Vodafone Essar, Idea Cellular and BSNL - claim that mobile permits entitle them to 15 units of 2G airwaves in every region, and add that there is no capping of airwaves at the 6.2 MHz limit.

The government is yet to decide on methodology to calculate the market value of spectrum when mobile permits are to be renewed. But, sector regulator Trai had recently prescribed that every MHz of 2G airwaves up to 6.2 MHz limit be priced at 1,769.75 crore. If the government accepts Trai's proposal, then a company such as Bharti Airtel will have to shell out a total of 10,972.45 crore for renewing its mobile permits from 2014-15 onwards.

A top executive with a GSM operator said that department's methodology and payment structure for licence renewal were only at the discussion stage, while adding that the proposal sent to service providers was nowhere close to being the final policy.

Source : Economic Times

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Loop Telecom offers to auction its 2G spectrum

Loop Telecom has submitted an affidavit to the Supreme Court proposing that its all-India telecom licence and corresponding spectrum be auctioned, according to court documents in ET's possession.

The company, whose association with the Essar group is being investigated by government authorities, has asked the court to allow it to bid in the proposed auction or be refunded 1,454 crore that it paid for the spectrum provided the highest bid exceeds that amount.

The proposal, presented to the Supreme Court by Loop's lawyer, Ariama Sundaram, is that the government should auction the airwaves received by Loop. If the auction fetched more than 1,454 crore - which is the amount it paid in 2008 - the government could retain the difference, it suggested. The affidavit goes on to say that the Loop should also have the option of matching the highest bid to preserve its investments.

The spokesman for the Essar Group, which has normally responded to queries on Loop, was not reachable outside of business hours.

Loop Telecom runs operations all over India with the exception of Mumbai, where sister concern Loop Mobile has had operations since 1995. Loop Telecom received its licence in 2008 along with other players currently caught up in the 2G scam. The airwaves were allocated on a first-come-first-serve basis at a price that resulted in a massive loss to the state, said a CAG report published late last year.

Loop is one among the companies that faces possible licence cancellations for being awarded airwaves 'unfairly' and then having allegedly failed to meet rollout conditions in the license.

Other companies facing a similar predicament include Etisalat DB Telecom , Uninor, and Videocon's Datacom .

The situation is more complicated for Uninor and Etisalat, because both these companies inducted strategic investors Telenor and Etisalat, respectively, that paid a hefty premium compared to the amount charged by the government for telecom licences.

In Uninor's case, the Norwegian company has invested an estimated $2 billion in the India venture. It already has sizeable operations. Loop Telecom's solution may not be suited to this operator. Loop's proposal may therefore meet resistance, an analyst said.

Recently the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India also proposed that incumbent operators using over 6.2 MHz of spectrum be charged an additional fee. That proposal has met with resistance from operators too.

Since the awarding of additional licenses, voice call tariffs have nearly halved, result in under half a rupee of revenue per minute for operators. The burden of additional fees could further upset business models.

Newer operators like Sistema Shyam Telecom and Uninor already maintain that at current cost structures and revenue patterns, the business case for telecom players is already weak.

Courtesy : Economic Times

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loop should to be taken task first for sitting idle on precious spectrum

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Karuna family in CBI's crosshairs

As evidences keep tumbling out to indicate the involvement of the DMK first family in the 2G scam case, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Karunanidhi could have little hope to avert a CBI swoop on his near and dear ones. The only concession Karuna can hope to get from his recent kiss and make up with the Congress is a possible exclusion of his second wife Dayalu Ammal from direct questioning by the CBI.

With enough evidences establishing fund-flow from scam beneficiary Swan Telecom to DMK-controlled Kalaignar TV, the writing is clear on the wall for the Congress’ southern ally. Fresh revelation confirms DMK link in 2G scam and debunks the party’s claim that the `214 crore received by the Kalaignar TV from Cineyug was an unsecured loan. The probe has revealed that the amount was the bribe money paid to the DMK-owned channel after the allocation of spectrum to Swan Telecom.

Promoter of Cineyug Karim Morani has told the Enforcement Directorate that the `214 crore transferred to Kalaignar TV was done at the behest of DB Realty promoter Shahid Balwa. Swan Telecom promoted by Balwa had received the 2G licences during beleaguered Telecom Minister A Raja.

Morani has given a hand-written statement to this effect under Section 6 of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act and the same is admissible as evidence in a court of law.

With the Supreme Court monitoring the case, the CBI has little option but to interrogate Karuna’s daughter Kanimozhi, who is a 20 per cent share holder in the Kalaignar TV. Sixty per cent share is held by Dayalu Ammal. Though the CBI believes that her role was of “silent ” partner in the firm, the agency may be legally bound to examine Dayalu at some stage.

Reacting to the media reports on the possible soft-pedaling of the probe against the DMK, CBI sources said that “they would soon” interrogate Kanimozhi.

“We will interrogate Kanimozhi and Sharad Kumar, as both are having 20 per cent share each in Kalaignar TV,” CBI sources said, adding, “Dayalu is like a silent partner and has no role in 2G scam.”

“We will take her (Dayalu) statement on this matter. But as far Kanimozhi is concerned, she have an active role in the TV channel, apart from other deals connected to spectrum kickbacks, like Voltas land deal,” said sources

“In Voltas land deal, we may have to look into the role of Rajathi Ammal, mother of Kanimozhi. Because the person who is involved in the Voltas land transfer is a close aide of them,” added sources.

Investigation has so far revealed that DB Realty began transferring money to one of his firms, Kusegaon Realty from January 2008 onwards and the same continued till August 2009. The 2G licences were granted on January 10, 2008.

However, transactions between the Balwa’s firms stopped once the CBI registered a case in October 2009 following a reference from Central Vigilance Commission. However, after the Supreme Court took monitoring of the 2G scam and then Telecom Minister A Raja resigned on November 14, 2010, Kalaignar TV returned the money to Cineyug and claimed that the same was an unsecured loan.

The ED and the CBI suspect that the money was paid as a quid pro quo to grant of 2G licences to Swan Telecom.

source:: http://www.dailypioneer.com/323677/Karuna-family-in-CBIs-crosshairs.html

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Dayalu Ammal, Kanimozhi questioned in spectrum scam

The Central Bureau of Investigation questioned Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi's wife Dayalu Ammal and daughter Kanimozhi here on Friday in connection with the 2G spectrum scam.

Sources in the agency said a special team of the CBI's Anti-Corruption Branch flew down from New Delhi early in the day and questioned the two at the office of Kalaignar TV. The Tamil channel's office is housed at ‘Anna Arivalayam,' the headquarters of the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK).

Nearly a month after conducting a search at Kalaignar TV and questioning its Managing Director Sharad Kumar, the CBI brought members of the State's first family under the ambit of its probe, just weeks ahead of the Assembly elections. Dayalu Ammal and Kanimozhi hold 60 and 20 per cent shares respectively in the channel.

The agency suspects that the transfer of Rs. 214 crore to Kalaignar TV by a company linked to Shahid Usman Balwa of DB Realty, who is under arrest in the 2G spectrum case, was a quid pro quo for Swan Telecom getting a 2G licence and spectrum at a “throwaway price” when A. Raja, also in judicial custody, was the Communications minister. However, Kalaignar TV has sought to clarify that the money was advance payment for picking up stakes in the channel, but it was returned with an interest of Rs.31 crore after the deal fell through following differences over the valuation of shares.

While Mrs. Dayalu Ammal was questioned for about half-an-hour, the CBI team sought clarifications from Kanimozhi for more than three hours. The questions focussed on the flow of funds to Kalaignar TV. Investigators were simultaneously perusing Income Tax returns filed by the channel since its inception.

source :: http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/article1529116.ece?homepage=true

Rights body seeks SC nod to probe Pramod Mahajan

The Centre for Public Interest (CPIL) has filed an affidavit before the Supreme Court furnishing fresh information on the arbitrary allocation of spectrum to telecom operators since 2001. The additional affidavit filed before the court on Friday has sought a direction to the CBI to probe the allegat

ions levelled against some political leaders who were obliged by various operators in exchange for allowing them to expand their network at low cost.

CPIL has claimed that former telecom minister, late Pramod Mahajan, had in 2001 facilitated the conversion of limited mobile license (WLL) to Reliance Infocomm Ltd to full mobility without charging any license fee.

The affidavit has further alleged that Reliance had allotted R1 crore share to three companies at Re 1 each as against Rs 55 to nominees of one Ashish Deora. According to CPIL, Deora had several close financial and personal connections with Mahajan. The transfer of shares was, therefore, intended as a bribe for getting permission to start fully mobile services, the affidavit alleged.

Pointing out yet another violation, the affidavit claimed that the Tata group and Bharti cellular had received seven licenses each at the 2001 rates in 2003.

This, it added, was against Trai recommendations that were reversed telephonically by then chairman Pradip Baijal. The change in its stand was without any consultation process as envisaged in the law. Baijal, after his retirement, joined the Niira Radia group that manages press relations for Tatas.

It was on CPIL’s public interest litigation that the SC had ordered a court-monitored CBI probe into the allocation of 2G spectrum by former telecom minister A Raja.

source :: http://www.hindustantimes.com/Rights-body-seeks-SC-nod-to-probe-Mahajan/Article1-672367.aspx

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DoT forms eight teams to study different telecom policy issues

The Department of Telecom has formed eight teams to discuss wide-ranging issues related to spectrum, merger and acquisition, indigenous manufacturing and security. "...eight teams have been identified and constituted with respective chairmen and members.They will be submitting the reports soon," sources in the Telecom Ministry said.

The teams formed will also be looking into telecom related issues like delinking of spectrum from licencing of access service in future and renewal of licences, among other things.

Further, they will discuss mergers and acquisition issues like relevant market share, minimum number of operators post merger, spectrum pricing on consolidation, spectrum transfer charges and bringing the telecom infrastructure providers (IP-1) under the licencing framework.

The teams have been directed to take into account certain observations made by one-man committee report submitted by Shivraj V Patil on the telecom.

In the beginning of this year, Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal had initiated action to formulate comprehensive National Telecom Policy 2011 under his 100 days agenda.

On Tuesday, Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal held a meeting with various telecom stakeholders and discussed issues related to the industry.

source :: http://telecomtiger.com/PolicyNRegulation_fullstory.aspx?storyid=10798&section=S174

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Spectrum muddle: Salve fires a salvo

In a day-long hearing senior counsel Harish Salve, appearing for Tata Teleservices and Etisalat DB Tuesday argued that for spectrum allocation, if First Come First Serve (FCFS) policy per se is held as bad in eye of law then all spectrum allocations done in and after 2003 must be quashed and auctioned afresh.

In what appears to be a point of conflict between telecom companies, Salve argued that the first four telecom operating companies who got licences till 2001 by auctioning process, have been granted huge amount of spectrum free of cost except the one time entry fee which was Rs. 1650 crore for the fourth operator in 2001. He said that apart from the entry level spectrum (i.e. 6.2 MHz), Bharti has 32.4 MHz, Vodafone has 19.6 MHz, Idea has 12.6 MHz and BSNL has 61 MHz and due to this, artificial scarcity of spectrum has been created.

Salve argued that in such a case it would not be now fair to say that since spectrum is scarce it has to be auctioned for huge amount. He argued that in such a case the new entrants will virtually have to bear the cost of huge spectrum granted to earlier players.

Salve suggested that if it is held that only auctioning is the right policy to be followed then the additional spectrum (apart from 6.2 MHz) allotted to the four players must also be withdrawn for auctioning in order to maintain a level playing field.

As per Salve’s arguments in 2003 after TRAI’s recommendations, it was accepted by a cabinet decision that First Come First Serve policy may be followed. He argued that either this policy must be followed right from 2003 till 2008 or all allocations done in and after 2003 must be withdrawn and auctioned afresh. Only 2008 allocations cannot be handpicked for auctioning, argued Salve. He also mentioned that by saying this amounts to jeopardizing 14 licences of Tata as well and of Aircel who was allotted in 2006.

Salve defending first come first serve, however restrained from going into the issue as to what happened on 10.01.2007 when cut-off date was preponed retrospectively and first come first serve was changed to first compliance with letter of intent, first serve.

The hearing of the case will resume Wednesday, when senior advocate CA Sundaram appearing for Uninor will start his arguments.

source :: http://www.lawetalnews.com/NewsDetail.asp?newsid=3588

2G: Uninor defends itself; govt. policy & implementation

Uninor Wednesday made almost a day long arguments before the Supreme Court in 2G spectrum matter and defended the policy followed by the government and last minute changes to it.

Senior Counsel CA Sundaram though clarified that he will not defend any actions in which court finds mala fides, however argued that all measures taken in 2008 were only a continuation of earlier policy followed in years 2003 and 2005. He stated that as per TRAI recommendations it was necessary to follow First Come First Serve Policy otherwise the new entrants would not be getting level playing field against the existing operators.

Sundaram addressed the court on the question of changing cut-off date for application retrospectively on 10.01.2008 from 01.10.2007 to 25.09.2007, and also changing “First Come, First Serve” to “First Comply with Letter of Intent, First Serve”. Sundaram argued that the action of Government was only a mix and a midway between TRAI’s recommendation of “no cap” on number of players and given that spectrum is scarce.

He argued that since number of applications received was huge, the change did not matter because the number of companies which would have been eligible on the basis of date of application would have been restricted to those who applied till September 25 only. He further argued that after this step in the second phase it was decided that all the applicants would be treated on equal footings on the basis of compliance letter of intent.

Sundaram also argued on the court’s concerns over former Telecom Minister bypassing Prime Minister’s suggestions on spectrum pricing. Prime Minister had written on 02.11.2007 to A. Raja the then Telecom Minister that spectrum pricing should be reviewed. Sundaram pointed out that Prime Minister in his speech on 12.12.2007 spoke in favour of promoting easy entry for new entrants into the telecom sector for better competition for ultimate benefit of the consumers.

Sundaram also argued that companies only acted as per government’s orders. He urged the bench to see whether it can be said that “Government of India made an error, you acted on government of India’s error. So sorry, you can go.”

The bench of Justice GS Singhvi and Justice AK Ganguly also expressed their concerns over the issue of security angle of Telco’s raised by the petitioners. The bench observed that “In case security angle is also involved, then the objections are much more serious. They become threat to internal and external security of the nation”

source :: http://www.lawetalnews.com/NewsDetail.asp?newsid=3598

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What happened on 10 January 2008?

Worth mentioning Department of Telecom under former Telecom minister A Raja had on January 10 issued two press releases. The first press release issued at around 11 am preponed cut-off date for application for 2G Licence and Spectrum retrospectively from 1 October, 2007 to 25 September 2007. This eliminated almost 2/3rd of the 573 applicants.

The second press release issued at 2:15 pm stated that the priority for spectrum will be now given to those who comply with the letter of intent. This was against the spirit of First Come First Serve which intended that those who apply (send application) first would be given priority in spectrum allocation.

Complying with letter of intent meant submitting Demand Draft running to Hundreds and thousands of crores (Rs 1650 Cr for pan India Licence) along with bank guarantees and performance guarantees. By this change allegedly those who had prior information about the change went to DoT and submitted their papers the same day i.e. within 45 minutes of the release. Since the priority for spectrum allocation was dependent on who submitted the Demand Draft and papers first, even fist fights were reported from venue.

As a result of changes in the process even those who had applied for spectrum as early as 2006 ended up getting spectrum later than those who applied in September 2007 because they did not have papers ready on January 10 and got late than others to comply with the Letter of Intent.

Interestingly during today's arguments the judges remarked that it had become a question of "access" into the DoT.

While this date remains the most controversial among all actions in the 2G spectrum allocation scam not one including the government has yet defended the two press releases. The government has shrugged off the question saying that the question is under investigation by various agencies and committees, whereas the companies are focussing on defending their licences.

source :: http://www.lawetalnews.com/NewsDetail.asp?newsid=3604

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India sends reminder to Mauritius for cooperation in 2G case

NEW DELHI: India has sent a reminder to Mauritius for its cooperation in the 2G spectrum scam probe citing information about some companies and its directors under the Mutual legal Assistance Treaty.

After sending the Letters Rogatory, the CBI has despatched a reminder requesting the Mauritius Government to give details about certain transactions of 12 companies, including Etisalat Mauritius Ltd, Delphi Investment Ltd and Decan Asian Infrastructure.

According to the legal documents, "investigations have revealed that the entire equity in the form of 107,91,000 shares held by Reliance Telecom Limited were transferred by it to Delphi Investment Limited, Les Cascades building, Edith Cavell Street, Port Louis, Mauritius on December 12, 2007.

"That during investigations allegations have surfaced that one corporate group which had a substantial share in another telecommunications operator in India in many circles, was also holding controlling stake/exercising control over Swan Telecom Pvt Ltd (now Etisalat DB Telecom Pvt Lyd), another telecom operator in India, through Mauritius-based companies, in violation of the Unified Access Services licence guidelines."

This, according to the CBI officials, was to ascertain whether Anil Ambani-led ADAG had more than 10 per cent cross holding shares in Swan Telecom.

The CBI has already questioned Ambani and other officials of ADAG in this connection and conveyed its contentions to a court.

Rejecting the bail pleas of Swan Telecom promoter Shahid Usman Balwa and R K Chandolia, former personal secretary of former telecom minister A Raja, special CBI Judge O P Saini had said: "Reliance Telecom Limited of ADAG group of companies had already been granted licence in some circles and, as such, Swan Telecom Pvt Ltd, its associate company, was not eligible for licence."

The court had said Swam Telecom should not have applied for licences in the first place as it was incorporated by the Reliance group of companies and thus was ineligible.

ADAG has, however, denied the allegations of the CBI. On the involvement of Raja, the Letters Rogatory said, "Allegations have also surfaced that some public servants of the Government of India have stakes in Etisalant DB Telecom Pvt Ltd (Formerly Swan Telecom Pvt Ltd) and Loop Telecom through a Mauritius based companies."

The LR has sought collection of documents from the Office and Registrar of Companies, documents and information to be collected from banks besides examining person in the concerned firms and Registrar of companies, the representatives of these companies in Mauritius.

"It is further requested that the competent authority in Republic of Mauritius may be asked that statement of witness be authenticated as per the law and procedures."

source :: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/India-sends-reminder-to-Mauritius-for-cooperation-in-2G-case/articleshow/7692807.cms

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DoT, I&B ministry spar over allocation of 700 Mhz band

New Delhi: Differences have emerged between the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) and the I&B ministry over allocation of 700 Mhz band of spectrum with both claiming their right on it.

I&B ministry claimed that the spectrum in 700 Mhz is reserved for public broadcaster Doordarshan, while the ministry of communication and IT has denied such claims saying the spectrum was required for expansion of mobile (IMT) and broadband wireless services (BWA).

This particular band (700 Mhz) is considered to be very efficient and could fetch the government revenues more than it got through auctioning of 3G spectrum last year.

According to officials, spectrum in 700 Mhz band can entail minimum investment in infrastructure by the telecom firms.

“In 700 Mhz frequency band, spectrum was earmarked for them but never allocated. There is process for spectrum allocation. An organization needs to obtain wireless operating license(WOL) to use spectrum and frequently renew it. Doordarshan never did it,” officials in the DoT said.

According to the officials, Doordarshan never obtained WOL for spectrum in 700 Mhz frequency band and hence its claim does not stand.

The I&B ministry in its recent communication to DoT has said that Doordarshan has 40 Mhz frequency assignment for mobile video link and 8 Mhz for digital transmission in four metros.

The telecom ministry is working on policy for mobile TV. It has received recommendation from Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) in 2008 on mobile TV services but cited non-availability of adequate spectrum for delay in policy formation.

It (I&B ministry) has asked for 96 Mhz of spectrum in UHF band 5 to start mobile TV service which is between 582 to 806 Mhz frequency. It has cited that UHF band 5 is for broadcasting services.

The DoT official, however, clarified that National Frequency Allocation Plan 2008 clearly mentioned that broadcast, IMT and fixed services as primary service in this band.

“Requirement of Doordarshan and mobile TV service can be met in UHF band 5. We are asking the ministry (I&B) to take spectrum below 698 Mhz else we will not be able to place needs of IMT and BWA service any where in this band,” he said.

The frequency band of 700 Mhz is in high demand by players in broadcast and mobile industry.

Any service deployed in this frequency band will need less number of base stations to deliver service as that being delivered in higher frequency band of 800, 900, 1800 and 2100 Mhz.

source :: http://www.livemint.com/2011/03/13135912/DoT-IampB-ministry-spar-ove.html

The basic thought of possession of precious 700 MHz spectrum by hopeless lazy sloth(aka Doordarshan) is making me feel giddy.

Please remove that from Doordarshan and auction it for mobile communication.

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So MDA's PAN INDIA BWA license on 2100MHz is NOT that much nice decision or what??? :NOTriste:

I have read somewhere here that AirHELL is urging in freeing up of 700MHz for further BWA auctions, behind the scene??? But then, MDA may block such moves behind the scenes then :rofl_200: ...

One thing is VERY CLEAR... We Indians' thirst for good Internet speed at reasonable rates will never be quenched in near future (Even MDA has to get back all those money before 700MHz auction).... :Equivocado:

Edited by KanagaDeepan

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Correction. MDA's TD-LTE is in 2300 MHz not in 2100 MHz

Don't worry my dear friend.......Airtel will get beaten to dust again in 700 MHz auction similar to the beating they got in 2300 MHz auction.

Vodafone, TATA and Uninor are eying 700 MHz auction like hungry foxes and so absolutely there's no hope for Airtel to win pan-India other than winning in pieces to satisfy their "ego".

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DoT refers spectrum vacation issue to EGoM

The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has decided to refer the issue of vacation of spectrum — up to 100 Mhz — to an empowered group of ministers (EGoM). The move followed differences between the DoT and other departments, including those of information and broadcasting, defence and space. The vacated spectrum would be used to ensure the availability of spectrum for the telecom industry.

The telecom industry is facing a spectrum scarcity and the DoT is dependent on other ministries for vacation of spectrum to fulfill the needs of the growing telecom industry.

“There have been some differences over spectrum assignment between the DoT and other departments. There have, of course, been some agreements as well. But issues over which views diverge are being referred to the EGoM. A decision has been taken that the EgoM, headed by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee would look into these issues,” a senior DoT official told Business Standard.

The official, however, did not reveal the amount of spectrum likely to be vacated. “It (the amount of spectrum) will be quite significant,” the official said.

On the disagreements between the DoT and other departments, the official said different departments had their own points of view and each was, no doubt, relevant and reasonable from a certain perspective. “But, what has to be done at the level of the EGom is take an overall perspective to come out with a final decision…such issues need careful and in-depth consideration,” he said.

The DoT had also disagreed with the defence ministry over the setting up of an optical fibre network (OFC) in lieu of vacation of spectrum by defence services. The defence ministry had vacated 15 MHz 3G spectrum, which was auctioned last year. It had also vacated 15 MHz 2G spectrum, which had been allocated to new operators. Under the agreement, the remaining spectrum — 10 MHz spectrum in 3G (for two operators) and 5MHz in 2G — would be vacated only after the OFC network, slated to be over by 2012, is complete. However, the defence ministry said there have been delays by the DoT in laying the OFC network and in notifying the defence band and interest zone. It also said the finance ministry had not waived the spectrum charges of Rs 10,000 crore.

According to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India, the requirement of spectrum in the next five years would stand at around 500-800 MHz, including 275MHz for voice services alone. On the other hand, available spectrum stands only at about 287-450 MHz.

The DoT is also in talks with Power Grid Corporation of India Ltd for the vacation of 10-12 MHz in different circles in order to form a single block of 20 MHz.

- Business Standard

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MoD spectrum usage charges work out to Rs.1.31 lakh cr : DoT

The Telecom Ministry has informed the Finance Ministry that the charges for spectrum (other than 2G and 3G bands) used by the Defence amount to whopping Rs.1.31 lakh crore.

The Telecom Ministry has informed the Finance Ministry that the charges for spectrum (other than 2G and 3G bands) used by the Defence amount to whopping Rs.1.31 lakh crore.

According to the Department of Telecom (DoT), the spectrum charges (for 2G and 3G bands) of the Ministry of Defence (MoD) from August 1, 2009 to July 31, 2010 amount to Rs.187.45 crore.

"As regards spectrum charges other than 2G and 3G bands, the spectrum actual in use and pan-India works out to be Rs.14,087.08 crore and Rs.1,17,517.16 crore, respectively," DoT has said in a communication to the Finance Ministry.

However, it was not clear whether DoT has sought the amount from the Defence Ministry or it has just brought this matter to the notice of Finance Ministry.

Telecom Secretary R Chandrasekhar has said in a letter to R Gopalan, Secretary, Department of Economic Affair, that spectrum usage charge for Defence networks in 2G and 3G bands -- between June 1, 2004 and July 31, 2009 -- amounted to Rs.937.236 crore, which was waived off by the Finance Ministry.

A High level Committee on Efficient use of Spectrum, in 2004, had suggested that spectrum charges should be charged from all users.

The New Telecom Policy -1999 envisaged that for optimal and efficient utilisation of spectrum, a fee shall be charged from all users including Government Departments.

DoT wants the Ministry of Defence to vacate additional spectrum for commercial use as soon as possible, which the latter is reluctant to do. The matter has now been referred to the Empowered Group of Ministers (EGoM).

Via : governancenow

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DoT committee gives nod to one-off excess spectrum charges

A Department of Telecommunications (DoT) committee has reportedly accepted a recommendation for imposing a one-off charge on those operators holding spectrum beyond their contracted amounts, according to the Business Standard. The initial proposal was made by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), and if the decision is ratified by the apex decision making body, the Telecom Commission, operators including Bharti Airtel, Vodafone Essar, Idea Cellular, Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL), Uninor, Tata Teleservices and Reliance Communications (RCOM) may face a combined total charge of as much as INR247 billion (USD5.5 billion).

In its initial recommendation the TRAI argued that new operators should pay commercial rates for any spectrum held in excess of the 4.2MHz that is issued as part of their concession, while the proposals said that older operators should pay extra for spectrum beyond 6.2MHz. In an earlier recommendation the TRAI had called for the price paid for excess spectrum to be directly proportional to the rates in line with the government’s May 2010 3G spectrum auction, but it has since said that 2G spectrum up to 6.2MHz should be priced at 53% of the 3G auction price, with companies to be charged 136% of the 3G price for spectrum in excess of 6.2MHz.

Operators have, however, criticised the proposals, claiming that they are unfair on those older operators that have invested significant sums in rolling out second-generation networks while also shelling out for 3G spectrum. The recommendations, certain operators argue, run contrary to the state’s position that 3G spectrum is more efficient than 2G frequencies, with the regulator’s view branded illogical, as it purportedly assumes that spectrum beyond 6.2MHz in 2G is more efficient that 3G and therefore the operators should pay more.

source :: http://www.telegeography.com/products/commsupdate/articles/2011/04/26/dot-committee-gives-nod-to-one-off-excess-spectrum-charges/

It's good news to hear....

As expected looting anti-competitive incumbents started their propaganda machine to deny legitimate due to our national exchequer.

Let us hope DoT shows strength to stand against imminent paid media campaign which will now start 24*7(fueled by incumbent telecom operators) against DoT and TRAI.

Edited by kesav

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‘Joshi flouted every norm, must resign'

The Congress and the DMK members of the Public Accounts Committee, which is looking into the 2G spectrum allocation scandal, virtually declared war on panel chairman Murli Manohar Joshi on Wednesday.

The members said he consistently rejected their valid suggestions, showed his bias by not examining the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report dealing with the telecom policy during the NDA regime, did not pass important documents relating to the probe to the members, was in a hurry to finalise the draft report before giving reasonable time to the members to even read it, and finally, did “a hatchet job.”

Seven members of the PAC, led by Congress MP K.S. Rao, said they would meet Speaker Meira Kumar and “seek her protection” for their rights as members of the PAC. The Chairman “cannot be allowed to bulldoze the report through,” he said adding that perhaps this was the very first time this had happened. Mr. Joshi “should resign” for having denigrated one of the most powerful of all parliamentary committees.

At a press conference on Wednesday, Mr. Rao said Dr. Joshi showed a “pre-determined biased mind.” This was clearly visible in paras 1.68 and 1.69 of the report that mentioned “deposition” before the committee by the Cabinet Secretary and the Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister when that meeting on April 16 was cancelled and they did not appear before the committee. (They had, however, given responses to the questions sent).

The members said adequate notice of the agenda of a meeting was not given. The draft report was leaked to the press even before it was received by the PAC members. Television channels were carrying excerpts since Wednesday morning when members received an e-mail at 11 p.m. on Tuesday and the physical copy of the report at 10.30 a.m. on Wednesday. Just because he wanted to complete the report before April 30, a shoddy job along the lines that were “predetermined” by him had been done, they said.

“We had to cross check the references in the report with the actual documents that weigh around 60 kg and run into thousands of pages,” Mr. Rao said. He was endorsed by Navin Jindal and Saifuddin Soz as well as Aruna Kumar and Tiruchi Siva. There was no reason for him to rush and hurry, as the PAC was a “continuing body” and Dr. Joshi had himself as Chairman, taken up from where previous chairmen had left.

No informed discussion

Mr. Rao said Dr. Joshi “should resign as chairman” since he flouted every norm of the PAC and “denigrated this high committee” that normally worked in a non-partisan way by finding consensus and unanimity. He said repeated complaints that the members were not being sent copies of documents received from various Ministries and companies went unheard. The result was that no informed discussion could take place and the “Chairman hogged three-fourths of the time at all meetings.”

The members' plea that the main accused, the former Communications Minister, A. Raja, be summoned went unheard. Dr. Joshi called Outlook Editor Vinod Mehta but when it was suggested that Arun Shourie “who was a former Communications Minister and had written reams on 2G and related issues” be called, this was ignored and turned down.

Mr. Soz said, “Dr. Joshi refused to invite witnesses suggested by us. He was oblivious to the fact that we are a democracy and he was only the first among equals in this committee. He simply did not give us time to read anything. His mind was already made up.”

They also pointed out that after every meeting he was briefing reporters and television journalists in a selective way and all through this the ruling coalition MPs on the committee kept their mouths shut.

“But today,” said Mr. Jindal, “when television channels started rolling out reports on the PAC draft, which we had not yet received, matters came to a head. We intend to lodge our strong protests at tomorrow's [Thursday's] meeting.”

source :: http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/article1773577.ece

Joshi must resign for basic reason of leaking the draft report to media.

It's against the secrecy oath which he took on being the member for parliament.

Draft reports are confidential and only the final report is for public gaze.

It's also imperative upon parliament to censure the media which have carried it clearly knowing what they're doing is illegal.

This draft report is actually Joshi's report and not PAC's report. :rofl_200: :rofl_200:

The most hilarious part of the report is it indicts Raja without even questioning him once.

How on earth can one indict a person without hearing his view point??

What banana justice is this????

The draft report only contains political analysis and not socio-economic analysis on CAG report.

The only purpose for existence of PAC is to analyse the CAG report with socio-economic lens but that sole purpose is entirely lost.

With these crappy works, it's better all the committees of parliaments be dismantled and all the reports better be placed on the house directly for discussion.

At least then public will be able to know whether direction of analysis is correct from the start.

This is totally disgusting and sheer waste of time for last 3-4 months.

Edited by kesav

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Merge WPC(Wireless Planning Commission) with TRAI, says Panel

NEW DELHI: A government panel, set up to recommend rules for pricing of all natural resources, has said that all future allocations of airwaves must be through auctions. The panel, headed by former finance secretary Ashok Chawla , in its draft report, has also called for spectrum trading to be permitted amongst telcos.

The committee was also of the view that price discovered though market mechanisms could be used to calculate the charges payable by legacy users. The panel called for the telecom department's wireless planning and coordination (WPC) wing, which handles all issues related to allocation and management of airwaves , to be made an autonomous agency. The WPC can be a separate body or be within telecoms regulator Trai, the recommendations add. Earlier this year, the Centre had asked a committee of secretaries headed by Chawla to frame rules for pricing, allocation and utilisation of natural resources.

It was set up in the backdrop of the 2G spectrum scam, rampant cases of illegal mining across the country, controversies related to pricing of natural gas, and the potential that shale gas and other natural resources offer for the country's economy. In addition to airwaves, the committee is also examining other natural resources such as oil, gas, coal, mining, other minerals, water and land owned by the government, and is expected to submit its report by the month-end .

So far, airwaves for voice telephony (2G) had been given to mobile phone companies based on their customer numbers, while third generation spectrum for high-end services, such as video calls and high-speed internet, had been auctioned last year. The allotment of 2G airwaves has been on hold for the past two years on the grounds that the communication ministry is yet to finalise a new methodology for awarding these airwaves. Controversies related to spectrum allocation and allegations related to inflated customer base, have plagued Indian telecom sector for years. ET reviewed the committee's draft recommendations on spectrum .

Endorsing the telecom ministry's recent stance, the Chawla committee has also called for delinking the allocation of telecom licences from mobile spectrum. Currently, mobile permits come bundled with start-up airwaves. It has also called for all airwaves to be identified and then be 'clearly demarcated' into commercial and no-commercial - primarily for defense and public security.

The panel also wants spectrum to be re-allocated based on 'actual users' , a reference to the allegations that many mobile phone companies report inflated customers base to corner this scarce resource. This panel's draft report also adds that if the roadmap for future release of spectrum through auctions were to be made available, it would 'temper bids in future auctions' .

The 3G and broadband wireless spectrum auctions in India last year delivered the government an unexpected bonanza of Rs 1,06,000 crore for the government against its estimates of Rs 35,000 crore. Telecom minister Kapil Sibal has been maintaining that his ministry will charge mobile operators for additional spectrum at marketdetermined prices beyond the 4.4 MHz mark, indicating that even new entrants and dual technology companies such as Reliance Communications and Tata Teleservices , who only have start-up airwaves , will also have to pay up for new allocations.

The committee's call for strengthening the WPC and giving it more autonomy including the suggestion that it be placed within Trai will enhance the regulator's repeated calls for reforms on this front.

source :: http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/news-by-industry/telecom/allocate-all-airwaves-in-future-through-auction-says-panel/articleshow/8104577.cms

Although the panel made a huge mistake by recommending auction for 2G, it made good suggestion of merging WPC with TRAI which is actually a long pending positive move.

This will help TRAI to get strengthened a bit more and will be correct move in the direction of empowering TRAI to the same level as other regulators like RBI.

Auction for 2G is atrocious even in its concept.

Auction has killed the pricing and competition in 3G already.

On the whole planet, we've astronomical 3G pricing that too when our 2G pricing is the world's lowest.

I don't understand why these panel members don't evaluate the reality which is directly visible.

:angry: :angry: :angry::mad44: :mad44: :mad44:

Govt can de-link and charge 2G spectrum at the price which will provide correct socio-economic balance but auctioning is no go.........

Auctioning will only help to hoard spectrum and promote looters to loot further and it'll kill new players and decimate competition.

If some players have huge money at their disposal, let them philanthropically donate it to national exchequer.

Why do they want to loot further by not allowing new players to exist by showing money muscle in auction at the cost of poor Indian's service afford ability?

Edited by kesav

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Chidambaram takes on MM Joshi over 2G report

New Delhi: The rancor over Murli Manohar Joshi's report on the 2G scam is causing a political meltdown. Today, Mr Chidambaram has accused Mr Joshi of "gross distortion" in the section that dissects Mr Chidambaram's role. (Read: Chidambaram's complete rebuttal here) "Even a person of average intelligence," Mr Chidambaram charges, should be able to spot what Mr Joshi has incorrectly stated.

As Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee, Mr Joshi drafted a report on the telecom scam and faulted, among others, the Prime Minister, his office, and Mr P Chidambaram who was Finance Minister in 2008 when the scam was executed, allegedly by A Raja as Telecom Minister. Mr Raja is now in jail for servicing companies who allegedly bribed him handsomely for licenses and spectrum at clearance prices.

At a meeting of the Public Accounts Committee yesterday, 11 of the 21 members, most of them from the Congress and DMK, voted against Mr Joshi's report. Mr Joshi, who is one of the Opposition BJP's most senior leaders, stormed out of the meeting. He says he had adjourned the meeting before the vote took place - so the report has not been rejected. The government believes that it has. The Speaker, Meira Kumar, is likely to play a crucial role in deciding who's correct.

Mr Chidambaram, who is now Home Minister, says that a letter written by him to the Prime Minister in January 2008, after telecom licenses were allotted, has been deliberately taken out of context by Mr Joshi. The report prepared by Mr Joshi faults Mr Chidambaram for asking the Prime Minister to "treat the matter as closed" - Mr Joshi says this is an example of the "multiple systematic failure" that allowed a "nefarious" Mr Raja to execute his scam. Mr Joshi says too many parts of the government looked away when Mr Raja had his hand in the cookie jar.

Not true, says Mr Chidambaram, alleging that "even a person with average intelligence" would have noticed that his letter referred not to the "entry fee" or what companies had to pay to enter the market, but to usage charges for spectrum. It is the entry fee - of 1600 crores per operator in 2008-that has shocked experts, mainly because that was the rate decided upon in 2001.

The term of the current Public Accounts Committee expires Saturday. Mr Joshi is meant to Chair the new committee as well.

source:: http://www.ndtv.com/article/india/chidambaram-takes-on-mm-joshi-over-2g-report-102350

Joshi has spoiled the PAC with such a lousy political work.

PAC could have really recommended best practices for the future governments and CAG.

Everything stand lost now due to heinous way in which the draft was leaked and the way report was prepared more as a political document rather than reviewing the work of the CAG.

Everything in CAG report was taken as gospels rather than questioning the way it was arrived at.

If PAC has to come out with any report, it's necessary that Joshi is immediately replaced for the nation's interest.

It looks like Joshi is obnoxious weed by the way he indicted Raja even without questioning him once.

It's just unjust.

It's better for media and polity not to even waste a single moment of time on this political Joshi report.

Edited by kesav

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2G Scam Probe.. The 'Rejected' PAC Report

Source: http://www.outlookin...cle.aspx?271603

Full Text of the PAC Report http://www.scribd.co...REPORT-20110428

What happened today had been foretold yesterday.

There already had been reports of a "deal" that the Congress had cut with the Samajwadi Party (SP) and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) members of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC)'s to help it scuttle the report on 2G scam that indicted former Telecom Minister A. Raja — and made critical comments on the Prime Minister's "indirect green signal" and the then Finance Minister P Chidambaram and the PMO.

And that is precisely what happened today.

More importantly, the report, dictated by the PAC chairman Murli Manohar Joshi, had recommended that all 2G licences issued by Mr Raja be scrapped and a heavy penalty be imposed on the existing licensees, who benefited illegally by his decisions.

The 270-page (with annexures) draft of the PAC report was leaked within hours of the PAC's 21 members receiving it yesterday (April 27) for a final meeting to adopt it today (April 28).

In addition to the BJP chairman Mr Murli Manohar Joshi, the PAC comprised of seven representatives from the Congress, four from BJP, two each from AIADMK and DMK, and one each from Shiv Sena, BJD, JD(U), SP, BSP and CPI(M).

In unprecedented scenes at a stormy meeting of the committee, the ruling coalition MPs (7 Congress, 2 DMK) — aided, as earlier foretold, by one each from SP and BSP— "elected" Congress member Saifuddin Soz as chairman who put the resolution for rejection of the report to vote.

In the end, the 11 MPs —including one each from SP and BSP —claimed to have "democratically rejected" the PAC's draft report.

It was reminiscent of how the trust vote on the Nuke deal with the USA had been "managed".

The 'election' took place once Mr Murali Manohar Joshi had left the meeting after Soz moved a resolution seeking a vote on the adoption of the draft report.

In the "vote" that took place after the nine members belonging to opposition parties (BJP, JD(U), BJD and AIDMK) had left, 11 members rejected the report, Soz claimed.

Mr Soz later went to Mr Joshi's office and handed over the "resolution" rejecting the report to his staff. He said he would apprise the Speaker of the developments in the meeting.

Mr Joshi himself told reporters that he had adjourned the meeting because of the din created by the ruling side members who claimed that the draft report was "outsourced".

"I wanted to say something but they did not allow me. So I adjourned the meeting," he said.

Mr Joshi wanted the report to be adopted before April 30 as that is when the PAC's term was to end and constitution of the next PAC would have meant, as he explained in his cover note, examining the issues de novo.

Mr Joshi also cited Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar's ruling that the role of PAC cannot be diluted even though the JPC inquiry into the same issue is on.

Congress members in the PAC claimed that Joshi was not prepared to listen to them and "ran away". Another opposition MP said the Congress MPs demanded that Joshi resign and did not allow him to conduct the meeting.

Mr Soz' resolution, which was moved the moment the post-lunch session started, read,

"I move that the draft report on recent developments in the allocation of 2G and 3G Spectrum circulated by chairman be rejected."

In case of lack of consensus in Committee meetings, rules of procedure and conduct of business in Lok Sabha provide that all questions at any sittings of the Committee shall be determined by a majority of votes of the members present and voting.

Sources said though there were major differences between members the meeting was held in a cordial atmosphere. Joshi reportedly gave each member the opportunity to express his views.

Rules state that in case of all financial reports if the majority in the committee decides against presentation of the report to the Speaker, the Chairperson has to go by this decision.

The Congress and DMK had yesterday attacked Joshi over the report and demanded his resignation, alleging that he was trying to destabilise the government.

The following is the controversial draft of the on 2G spectrum scammet dictated by its Chairman Murli Manohar Joshi.

The DMK's Tiruchi Siva and Congress members KSS Rao, Saifuddin Soz, Naveen Jindal and K Sudhakaran have slammed this report as being Mr Joshi's and not of the PAC. They have asked for Joshi's resignation, arguing that the PAC has still not examined all aspects of the 2G scam and as such the probe cannot be wound up with the findings so far.

They argue that the probe could be carried onto the next PAC. Mr Joshi, however, is keen on pushing the report before the term of the current PAC ends on April 30, arguing that the PAC's work cannot be extended beyond its term.

But the ruling coalition members are expected to stall the report by seeking further discussion and calling more witnesses, including former Telecom Minister A Raja in a bid to prolong the process. If it comes to voting and the dissent notes are found to be in a majority, the dissenting view would be taken as the final, which is why the April 28 meeting assumes significance.

Mr Joshi also cited Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar's ruling that the role of PAC cannot be diluted even though a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) into the same issue has been constituted.

Some of the highlights:


The Committee's examination reveals a " strange sequence of events" relating to the exchange of letters between Mr A. Raja, the PM, the note from the then external affairs minister Mr Pranab Mukherjee and the processing of the same in the PMO:

"The file was sent back to the Telecom Ministry with a note from private secretary to the PM that 'the PM wants this informally shared with the Department and does not want a formal communication and wants PMO to be at an arm's length.' The PM's desire to keep the PMO at an arm's length indirectly helped the Communications Minister to go ahead and execute his unfair, arbitrary and dubious designs.

"On January 3, 2008, by just acknowledging the Communications Minister's letter, the PM seemed to have given his indirect green signal to go ahead with his plans and decisions. What concerns the Committee is the fact that when the Communications Minister was in such a hurry to implement his decisions, there was no plausible reason to submit the file to the PM after 12 days."


"...The Prime Minister's statement that revenue generation has never been a primary consideration is self-contradictory in view of his own statement in India Telecom-2007 to the effect that the revenue potential to the government must not be lost sight of as government across the globe have harnessed substantial revenue while allocating spectrum."

A. Raja

"The Prime Minister was, in fact, misled when he was informed by the minister [A. Raja] that the issue of auction of spectrum was considered but not recommended by the Telecom Commission and also not recommended by TRAI. The minister was saying half truth, concealing the other half concealing his ulterior design."

"...the former Communications Minister deliberately misled the Prime Minister in order to fulfill his nefarious design, leading to staggering loss of revenue which also tarnished the image of the country.

On the then Finance Minister P Chidambaram

"The Committee are shocked and dismayed to note that the FM (P Chidambaram) in his note dated February 15, 2008, acknowledged that spectrum is a scarce resource and the price of spectrum should be based on its scarcity value and efficiency of usage, but made unique and condescending suggestion that the matter be treated as closed.

"The Committee view it most unfortunate since the FM, the guardian of the public exchequer and entrusted with the principal task of mobilisation of resources for public welfare, instead of initiating stringent and swift action against all those responsible for the whopping losses to the exchequer, pleaded with the PM to treat the matter as closed. The Committee cannot rest till the matter is probed in its entirety and the reasons for such an unusual act by the FM are explained to the nation."

On Mr Ratan Tata

"The Committee are surprised that a person of Tata's stature sent a personal letter to DMK patriarch when the letter had nothing to do with the framing and implementation of policies at the central level."

On Radia Tapes

"The Radia tapes reveal the tip of the iceberg and provide glimpses of the often unreported backroom deals, shady trade-offs, role of middlemen, quid pro quos between lobbyists and certain journalists, insatiable greed for wealth, etc."

Edited by rajanmehta

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