New Delhi: The alleged gigantic loss of Rs 30,984 crore to the state exchequer in 2G spectrum allocations was caused due to the government policy and not because of his criminal acts, former Telecom Secretary Siddharth Behura told a Delhi court on Wednesday. READ MORE: A RAJA DRAGS PM NAME AGAIN The counsel for Behura, during four-hour arguments, said the government had approved the policy of the Telecom Minister as it did not choose to convene a Cabinet meeting. (Agencies)
"The government policy was focused on spreading competition, improving services and increasing tele-density. If the policy was wrong then it does not make it criminal," senior advocate Aman Lekhi told special CBI judge O P Saini.
Countering CBI's claim that the "omission and commission" of the accused, including former Telecom Minister A Raja, caused the loss to the state, he said the government "did not intend to generate revenue" from grant of licenses.
"Just because, someone says later that higher licenses prices would have increased the revenue, it did not make the policy chosen criminal," Lekhi said, adding even the charge sheet fails to mention the complicity of Behura in any alleged criminal act.
Behura, who joined the DoT on January 1, 2008, said he had only implemented the policy which has been defended by the government.
"In this case, the civil servant has done his duty only and implemented the policy of the government which was at place that time. He has acted accordingly in pursuance of the policy which was publicly defended by the government after this case came up in court," Lekhi said.
A civil servant is not expected to lodge a protest against the policy which was not opposed by anybody, he said.
CBI has alleged that Behura and others implemented the First Come First Serve policy in such way that the company, which complied with the terms of the Letter of Intent (LoI) first, were given priority over firms which applied for the licenses before them.
"According to the business rules, a cabinet meeting is summoned in cases involving financial implications which the Finance Ministry desires to put before the cabinet or in cases where differences of opinion surface between two ministries.
In this case, so far as the government was concerned, it did not choose to convene a cabinet meeting."
"Had the government not approved of what the Minister (Raja) was doing, it could have called a cabinet meeting or made the minister resign. But he continued in office, which showed the government concurred with his policy," Lekhi said.
CBI, in the charge sheet, said the "ill conceived" design of establishing four counters at the DoT headquarters to distribute LoIs to the companies made a "mockery" of FCFS policy.
The desperate race to the reception area led to a lot of chaos which also resulted in a situation where physical fitness of the representatives became the deciding factor for the priority in submission of compliance of LoIs and entry fee etc making a "mockery" of the FCFS policy, it said.
Besides Behura, 13 persons, including DMK MP Kanimozhi, have been arrested so far in the case.
Three companies, Swan Telecom, Unitech Wireless (Tamil Nadu) Ltd and Reliance Telecom Ltd have also been named as accused in the case.
New Delhi: The alleged gigantic loss of Rs 30,984 crore to the state exchequer in 2G spectrum allocations was caused due to the government policy and not because of his criminal acts, former Telecom Secretary Siddharth Behura told a Delhi court on Wednesday.
READ MORE: A RAJA DRAGS PM NAME AGAIN
The counsel for Behura, during four-hour arguments, said the government had approved the policy of the Telecom Minister as it did not choose to convene a Cabinet meeting.