New Delhi: The Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) probing the 2G spectrum allocation has decided to question all the former Telecom Ministers appointed after 1998 before questioning A Raja, the prime accused in the case.

Earlier, the JPC on Wednesday questioned AV Gokak, who served as Telecom Secretary between November 1996 and August 1998, in connection with the 2G spectrum allocation scam. During his tenure, 18 telecom circles were formed and 34 companies were given license. 

Gokak’s testimony is being considered important as he had once dismissed Prime Minister’s decision and taken a call on his own.

It is noteworthy that, in November 1997, Prime Minister Indra Kumar Gujral had decided to give the responsibility to study the telecom industry to Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRI).

But dismissing the PM’s decision, Gokak had handed over the study to the Bureau of Industrial Costs and Prices (BICP) and ICICI.

When being questioned by the JPC, Gokak defended himself stating that the decision taken was reasonable then.

Highlighting the bad state of telecom industry during his tenure, Gokak justified the estimated loss of Rs 3779 crores incurred due to non-recovery of License fee.

It is to be noted that it was mandatory for the companies to open escrow account for license but most of the companies did not open the account. Due to which, from 1995 -1999, the government incurred losses of Rs 3779.45 crore as per the CAG report.  Gokak will be questioned in this regard by the JPC on Thursday. 

JPC chairman P C Chacko clearly stated that the parliamentary committee will question the former telecom ministers appointed after the year 1998 with the possibility of few ministers getting away of questioning by committee. 

Chacko said that after the secretaries, Solicitor General will be questioned following which Ministers will be questioned.