- The 2G Spectrum has been said to be one of the biggest scams in the history of Independent India. It has been called as the second biggest occurrence of the abuse of executive power
- It was the Comptroller and Auditor General of India penned down a report that quantified and pegged the scam loss to Rs. 1.76 lac crores
- It was also alleged the the telecom Minister A. Raja had acted against the advice of TRAI, Law Ministry, Finance Ministry
The 2G Spectrum has been said to be one of the biggest scams in the history of Independent India. It has been called as the second biggest occurrence of the abuse of executive power, stands just a notch below Richard Nixon’s Watergate scandal.
How it all started?
Ten years to be very precise, it started when the corridors of powers in Delhi started hearing the murmurs of the wrongdoings and soon the opposition grabbed this opportunity to target the UPA Government, demanded an investigation.
However, politically it was hard to show the irregularities in the allocation of Second Generation spectrum licenses for mobile communication and limited data transmission and it was too complex a subject for public comprehension or popular political lexicon. It was the Comptroller and Auditor General of India penned down a report that quantified and pegged the scam loss to Rs. 1.76 lac crores, the scandal came into its own definitive shape and moniker and was termed the 2G Scam.
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) started investigating the case and filed an 80,000 page charge sheet before the trial court.
So, let’s know about the 2G Scam
The Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) which is known to be the supreme auditing body of the country presented its report on the issuance of licenses and allocation of 2G spectrum by the Department of Telecom On 16th November 2010.
Vinod Rai was heading the CAG then, revealed that 2G licenses were issued to telecom operators at very casual prices which eventually caused a loss of Rs 1.76 lakh crore to the exchequer. Also, in addition to this, the licenses were issued to the ineligible applicants that, by personal notions had suppressed facts, disclosed their incomplete information, submitted fictitious documents and had used fraudulent means for getting licenses and hence, managed to get the spectrum licenses without any hassle.
It just doesn’t end there, the CAG report further reported that licenses owners, in turn, had sold their significant stakes to some of the Indian/foreign companies at a high premium, within a short period of time.
The premium earned by these new entrants in the telecom sector when calculated, revealed the estimated true value of the spectrum. If it had been a free and fair bidding process, these profits should have been made by the public exchequer.
What were the allegations?
It has been alleged that the telecom ministry under A Raja deliberately changed the rules and eligibility criteria several times to suit the benefiters.
First one was, the cut-off date of the auction was advanced by the ministry to suit the benefiters. Second one was that the ministry had issued licenses on a distorted First Come First Served (FCFS) Policy. Also, the licenses were sold at 2001 prices, not at 2008 prices. It had also been alleged that the officials at the ministry shut counters such that they could physically block selected telecom companies from entering into the bid to get the spectrum.
Lastly, it was also alleged the the telecom Minister A. Raja had acted against the advice of TRAI, Law Ministry, Finance Ministry.