TRAI report on spectrum value submitted in CBI court

September 9th, 2011 - 11:23 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Sep 9 (IANS) The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Friday placed the report of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) on the 2G spectrum’s value before its special court hearing the airwaves’ allocation scam.

The report, which said it was not possible to predict with certainty the precise value of 2G spectrum that would have emerged in auction between 2001-08, was submitted to Special CBI Judge O.P. Saini.

The submission was in response to a petition filed by several of the accused including former communication minister A. Raja and DB Realty’s Shahid Balwa.

The agency has already submitted the report before the Supreme Court earlier this week. Placed before a bench of Justices G.S. Singhvi and H.L. Dattu, the report said it was a “tricky” exercise to estimate the annual value of spectrum for eight years.

The report said: “Retrospectively estimating annual value of spectrum in the 1800 MHz band for eight years between 2001 and 2008 is a tricky exercise at the best of times. Access to data is crucially important, but equally, if not more important is access to business plans and forecasts of service providers who invest in the market.”

“We do not have access to the latter information and even the data that we have is inadequate, as documented in our report. We, therefore conduct the exercise of estimating market value of spectrum under severe data constraints and a changing technological environment,” said the report.

TRAI’s submission to CBI states it did not recommend the auction of spectrum - a stand that could weaken the theory of loss caused to the exchequer because of opting for first-come-first-serve licence allocation, rather than the auction route.

Meanwhile, counsel for accused told the court that the probe agency had no scientific or technical expertise to determine the loss.

“In fact, the CBI has itself made an admission in the chargesheet that the TRAI report is awaited for calculating the quantum of loss,” said their petition.

The Comptroller and Auditor General had assessed a presumptive loss of Rs.1.76 lakh-crore to the state exchequer, while the CBI, during its probe into the 2G scam, had pegged the loss at Rs.30,000 crore.

CBI officials, however, argued that the case against Raja is that he twisted the first come first serve policy to benefit certain private parties.

The special CBI court will Sep 15 pass the order on the charges to be framed against all the accused.

Meanwhile, the counsel for Reliance Communication also sought court’s directions to the CBI to call for the union law ministry report to the department of telecom on applicability of clause 8 of Unified Access Service Licence (UASL) guidelines, which, as per the report, purportedly applies only to companies holding a telecom licence and not to the applicants.

The CBI will file its response to this after one week.

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