‘Wrong to say Govt. made no losses in 2G scam’, says CBI chief to PAC

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

NEW DELHI - Senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader and Public Accounts Committee (PAC) Chairman Murli Manohar Joshi on Tuesday quoted Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Director A P Singh as saying that it is incorrect to say the government has made no losses in the 2G spectrum allocation.

Earlier today, CBI Director Singh appeared before the PAC to give evidence in connection with the allocation of 2G spectrum.

“The most important thing he (the CBI chief) said was that as far as he has looked into the matter, it is wrong to say that zero losses occurred but because he is primarily involved in criminal investigations, he can’t give an exact number to the losses,” Joshi said.

Further calling Union Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal’s ramarks on the 2G spectrum scam an insult to the Parliamentary system, Joshi said he would meet the Speaker of the Lok Sabha on the issue.

Sibal on January 7 challenged the CAG’s report, saying the figure of Rs. 1.76 lakh crore is utterly erroneous.

“Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) figure of Rs. 1.76 lakh crore is utterly erroneous. The losses were much lower and that over Rs. 100 crore had been recovered after the government sent out notices,” he said.

The PAC, headed by BJP veteran Joshi, has so far gathered evidence from former Telecom Secretaries S. S. Behura and D. S. Mathur, former TRAI chairman Pradip Baijal, former Member (Finance) of Telecom Commission Manju Madhvan and RBI Governor D. Subbarao, who was Finance Secretary when the 2G allocations were made in January 2008.

The CBI on Monday extended the custody of former Telecom Minister A Raja for three more days and Swan Telecom promoter Shahid Balwa for four more days.

Both Raja and Balwa were arrested for their alleged involvement in the 2G Spectrum allotment scam.

The two were made to face each other and answer questions relating to the grant of licence and undue favours extended to the company during 2008.

Earlier, the Supreme Court asked the government to constitute a special court to deal exclusively with the 2G spectrum scam.

The CBI told the apex court that it would file the first chargesheet in the 2G scam against A Raja and others under Prevention of Corruption Act (PCA) for cheating and forgery by March 31.

The apex court said it favours a CBI investigation that also covers culpability of beneficiaries of the scam, as they are part of a larger conspiracy.

In its remand application, the CBI said Balwa”s company Swan Telecom (a part of the Mumbai-based DB Realty) allegedly got favours in the spectrum allocation and caused the national exchequer a loss of over Rs.22,000 crore.

It also said Balwa allegedly conspired with private companies to sell to a Gulf firm at a huge profit the 2G spectrum licences Swan Telecom acquired at a cheap rate.

Raja was forced to resign from the Union Cabinet last year after the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) faulted him for undervaluing spectrum to favour companies who were largely ineligible for 2G spectrum, and added that the government had probably lost Rs.1.76 lakh crore in estimated revenue. (ANI)

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