2G: Unitech Wireless claims it only followed policy (Lead)

August 9th, 2011 - 9:12 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Aug 9 (IANS) Claiming innocence in the second generation spectrum allotment case, Unitech Wireless Tuesday concluded its arguments in a Delhi court, saying this is a case where the accused have been charged for following government policies.

The company told Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Special Judge O.P. Saini that the licence obtained by it was as per the government policies and that it did not violate any of the conditions.

Counsel for Unitech Wireless Meet Malhotra said: “Licenses were given strictly according to the policy and given at the prices decided. The company simply followed the policy decisions which were recommended by the TRAI (Telecom Regulatory Authority of India) and approved by cabinet.”

“How can one change this decision (policy decision) when the cabinet and the TRAI have approved it…Just because the policy was not changed and there was no auction, the company gets criminal prosecution…that too because somebody feels that the policy should have changed…it was a decision taken on the strength of TRAI,” Malhotra said.

“Just because 3G (third generation spectrum allocation) fetched so much money to the national exchequer (as it was auctioned), does not mean that 2G must have done so…there is a difference between the two…2G was the need of a common man,” defence counsel said.

“The 2G spectrum was not auctioned keeping in view the object of growth and affordability and today Indian telecom sector has done better than China,” Malhotra said.

The probe agency was assessing the alleged loss in the 2G allocation by calculating the amount of revenue that would have gone to the national exchequer if 2G was auctioned. The amount of loss that the CBI has stated was a “notional and hypothetical figure”, counsel said.

The company asked the court why the CBI raised so much hue and cry about the loss incurred when the government itself, in the recent past, said that “2G (allocation) was a zero loss” process.

Malhotra said the allegation that Unitech sold equity to global player Telenor and made a windfall was absolutely incorrect.

“There was no sale of equity by Unitech promoters, only foreign direct investment (FDI) by fresh issuance of shares, which was permitted under the UASL (Unified Access Service Licence) guidelines. Every act done by the company was lawful,” counsel said.

He added that it was not just Unitech Wireless which had FDI, all the other companies had it.

“There were several companies which have sold equity after having obtained licences and made huge profits like - STel to BMIC Mauritius, Tata Tele Services Ltd. to Docomo, Datacom to Videocon and Spice to Idea,” Malhotra added.

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