In what could be further embarrassing for the Centre, the SC shot off notice to the telecom companies which failed to roll out services despite having had 2G spectrum licences, recommending the allocations to the companies be cancelled. The companies which have got notice hit the jackpot as they are reported to have sold their share at whopping margin. As the apex court also tightened noose on TRAI and DoT for their lackadaisical approach, it could have a major ramification on the political landscape. The DoT has already been accused of collusion with private operators by the CAG. In normal courses, the DoT itself would have evaluated the replies of erring firms to reach conclusion if their licences be revoked. With the court intervention the prospect of penalties and cancellations has become far stronger as DoT will be defending its failure to adhere to its statutory obligation to issue these show cause notices in time, telcos is to explain why they should not be acted against and TRAI too to prove why the licences deserve to be cancelled.
It is crystal clear that ex-Telecom Minister A Raja was hell bent on distribute the licenses to those firms which didn’t have merit for getting it, but Telcom Minister Kapil Sibbal surprisingly also seems to be in Raja colour as he looks lax in this regard and probably due to this reason the Supreme Court had to slam the notice to DoT. While issuing notice, the court did not take note of Sibbal’s recent statement in which he jettisoned the CAG’s calculation of exchequer’s loss in the allocation of 2G spectrum. It is praiseworthy that the SC did not acknowledge it as a government’s declaration. As CAG’s spokesperson summarily rebutted Sibbal’s remark, claiming its calculation about the loss is watertight correct, the Telecom Minister is trying to cover up the scam and mislead the nation as well. Sibbal has in a sense tried to dent the credential of the CAG which is a constitutional institution. Profound irony is that government per se is maligning its own institution. It is intriguing that why the Congress took such a long spell to reach this conclusion and if it stands true why not it was discussed during the winter session of the Parliament. It will augur bad for the UPA government if it is somersaulting to decline any scam in the allocation of 2G spectrum as popularity of the Congress is already nosediving. If there is no scam, why did the government take resignation from Raja and what is CBI investigation for? Can the Congress explain these questions? Isn’t the opposition’s demand for JPC probe into the sleaze is legitimate?