Legal Blog: Ex-SC Judge to Probe 2G Licences

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Friday, December 10, 2010

Ex-SC Judge to Probe 2G Licences

Justice Patil

One day after the Supreme Court directed the CBI to widen the probe of the 2G spectrum scam, the government on Thursday announced that a retired Supreme Court judge would look into spectrum allocation procedures and policies during 2001-2009, a period that includes the NDA regime. 

IT and communications minister Kapil Sibal said the one-man committee of retired Supreme Court Justice Shivraj V Patil would "examine appropriateness of procedures (adopted) by DoT in the issuances of licences and allocation of spectrum during the period 2001-2009". 

Patil has been tasked with completing within four weeks, the exercise of uncovering the entire gamut of procedures not just on the 122 2G licences/spectrum awarded in 2008 at 2001 prices, but also award of spectrum between 4.4 MHz to 6.2 MHz and beyond. 

''All spectrum given between 2001 and 2009 has been free,'' Sibal said, explaining why the entire period was being investigated. 

Once the government has the inquiry findings with it, a decision would be taken on how to move forward. "(The) objective is to tell people of this country how the spectrum was given and we will put this in the public domain,'' Sibal said. 

Sibal also said show-cause notices would be issued within a week to companies which had got licences despite being ineligible to apply or had not met rollout obligations. 

According to Sibal, the terms of reference for the committee include looking at internal department procedures adopted by the Department of Telecom during 2001 and 2009, including award of Unified Access Service licences/ spectrum, examination of consistencies or deviations in policies including matters of fairness, transparency, and keeping with the principles of justice. ''It will even probe violation of policies enunciated by the DoT itself,'' Sibal said. 

Asked about the objective of such a committee when the CAG has already given its report, Sibal said, "They (CAG) have given the report and the same is being examined by the Parliamentary panel. Broadly speaking, we are looking at the internal departmental procedures adopted by DoT during 2001-09."

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