Originally Published 2011-05-06 00:00:00 Published on May 06, 2011
Because of the confusioni created by different agencies in calcuating the loss to the national exchequer caused by the 2-G scam, it is imperative that the exact figure and dimensions of the scam should be arrived at by an expert body.
2-G spectrum: Allotments should be cancelled
The CBI has already filed two charge sheets before the Supreme Court on issues connected with the 2-G scam. Yet another charge sheet is expected to be filed before the Supreme Court by the CBI in the coming weeks. Former Telecom Minister A. Raja, the prime accused, has been in jail for over four months. The heads of a number of telecom companies who maneuvered themselves irregular 2-G licences and spectrum allocations are also in jail, their application for bail having been rejected by courts.

DMK Rajya Sabha MP Kanimozhi, daughter of Chief Minister Karunanidhi of Tamil Nadu, has been cited as one of the accused. More and more ugly details are tumbling out and it is a matter of time before they are all made to account for their scams.

It is to the credit of the Supreme Court that the unravelling of one of the biggest scams in the post-Independence era is being thoroughly examined and exposed by the efforts of the CBI and the Comptroller and Auditor General of India. The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of Parliament presided over by the BJP veteran, Dr. Murli Manohar Joshi, had had some traumatic sittings and had to wind up prematurely due to the accusations and counter-accusations of the members constituting the PAC. The Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) will commence its task presumably when Parliament assembles for the monsoon session.

The proceedings of the JPC will be extremely important and interesting as these will largely deal with the 2-G scam. The PAC, presided over by Dr. Murli Manohar Joshi, mentioned in the initial draft report that the loss to the exchequer by the 2-G scam was Rs. 1.90 lakh crore while granting 122 licences in 2008, dual technology licences and extra spectrum.

However, the CAG of India had put the presumptive loss in the range of Rs. 57,000 crore to Rs. 1.76 lakh crore. On the other hand, the CBI which took up the case, estimated the loss at more than Rs 30,000 crore which they mentioned in the charge sheet. The PAC draft report had made a reference to the calculation made by Dr. Subramaniam Swamy, President of the Janata Party, that the net loss in the 2-G scam was Rs 97,410.74 crore.

Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal had, however, questioned the calculation of the CAG in respect of the presumptive loss of 2-G allocations and he characterised the calculation method of the CAG as without a basis. These figures are bewildering and tend to confuse the main issue, which is that there was a tremendous loss to the national exchequer which had never been seen before in the post-Independence years.

It is, therefore, all the more imperative that the exact figure and dimensions of the 2-G scam should be arrived at by an expert body. The CAG is a constitutional authority whose calculation in its report should be acceptable. The CBI, which took up the investigation of the 2-G scam on the directive of the Supreme Court, had made its own calculation and arrived at a much smaller figure and now comes the calculation made by the PAC and mentioned in its draft report released to the press on April 28. The figure arrived by the PAC is much more than what was calculated by the CAG, the CBI and by Dr. Subramaniam Swamy.

Therefore, it is hoped that the Supreme Court in its wisdom would constitute a committee consisting of the CAG, the Director of the CBI, the Chairman of Telecom Authority and possibly a renowned chartered accountant and give it the task of working out the most approximate quantum of loss to the national exchequer in the entire 2-G scam.

Simultaneously, the Supreme Court may also consider, in consultation with the high-powered committee, ways and means of making good the colossal loss to the maximum extent possible.

The spectrum allotments should be cancelled or forfeited and given afresh by way of auction or other means. The wrongful beneficiaries may also have to be asked to make good the loss failing which their properties should be attached. It will be a multi-dimensional task for the Supreme Court appointed high-powered committee. It is hoped that this may come about sooner or later.

Apart from exploring and establishing a fairly correct estimate of the loss to the national exchequer in terms of revenue, all those responsible for the scam should also be identified and brought to justice. It is not enough to punish only Raja and his associates in the Department of Telecom who are now in jail along with him. All those persons who were responsible for the scam by acts of omission and commission should also be brought to justice sooner or later.

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