New Delhi: The Bharatiya Janata Party which has gone full throttle against the Congress - led UPA government in the 2G Spectrum case, now finds itself encompassed in a major telecom scam.

As per the documents available with Jagran alike Former Telecom Minister, A Raja who in 2008 modulated the rules to issue spectrum license at throwaway prices to telecom companies including Swan, Loop and Unitech, the then Telecom Minister Pramod Mahajan obliged Bharti , Hutch (now Vodafone) and Idea in the similar way in 2002.

Surprisingly, decision to issue spectrum licenses to the companies more than the specific quota was exacted by Mahajan in the absence of senior officials and that too in one day.

During Mahajan’s tenure as Telecommunication Minister, the proposal to issue additional spectrum license against the specified quota was given nod on Januray 31, 2002. It gave a spike to these three telecom firms who rapidly expanded their subscriber base in the telecom market.

It was vetted in the favour of telecom companies at a time when Production and Finance member of the Telecommunication Commission were out of Delhi, and Minister of State for Communication was unavailable.

The settlement was made on the day on which Avisor (Wireless) retired. It is worth mentioning that the Advisor plays a crucial role in the spectrum allotment.

More importantly, Pramod Mahajan gave approval to issue the spectrum license after getting the recommendation of the Telecommunication secretary, Shyamal Ghosh on this matter.

According to the reports, the proposal submitted to the secretary clearly mentioned about the approval given by the members of the Commission and Wireless Department, who, interestingly, were not present during the day of final decision. Generally, approval is given in written.

As a matter of fact, the first draft related to the issuing of spectrum license was prepared on January 10, 2002 on the directions of the then Telecom Minister. However, the technical section of telecommunication department, Telecom Engineering Centre raised objections on the allotment of additional spectrum licenses. Therefore, afresh draft was prepared on January 31, which received approval on the very same day. 

In 2002, there were provisions to allot 6.2 MegaHertz spectrum to each operator. But an additional 4.4 MegaHertz spectrum was given to Bharti, Hutch and Idea who gave reasons of expanding consumer demand and problem faced in networking to acquire the market.

With this, the value of these three telecom firms surged in the market, which helped them in further investment. Thereafter, in the year 2007, Hutch sold its equity to Vodafone.

Non-transparency and benefits derived by flouting the norms has brought the companies under the CBI scanner. CBI and Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) will probe Bharti, Hutch and Idea who are presently out of the 2g scam.

(JPN/ Anshuman Tiwari)