JPC quizzes CAG on 2G spectrum loss assessment

May 30th, 2011 - 3:45 pm ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata Party New Delhi, May 30 (IANS) The joint parliamentary committee (JPC) probing India’s telecom licensing policy in the wake of the 2G spectrum allocation scam, Monday quizzed Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) Vinod Rai on how he had quantified that the nation suffered a presumptive loss of Rs.1.76 lakh crore in the allotment.

Rai appeared before the JPC, headed by Congress leader P.C. Chacko, at a committee room in the Parliament Annexe Monday afternoon.

The CAG report on the 2008 2G spectrum allocation had said that the nation suffered the huge losses to because the licences were sold to private telecom firms at throwaway prices in comparison to market rates.

Chacko, at the last meeting of the JPC May 18, had said the committee wanted to know from the “the horse’s mouth” how the CAG had calculated the figure of Rs.1.76 lakh crore.

The presumptive figures are controversial and were even challenged by the government as Communications Minister Kapil Sibal said they were “utterly erroneous and without any basis”.

However, Rai has stood by his finding.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), which is also probing the alleged irregularities in spectrum allocation, in its chargesheet has said the nation suffered a loss Rs.30,984 crore.

The CAG report raised a political storm, which also led to the resignation of the then communications minister A. Raja who is now in jail for allegedly favouring some new telecom players.

The JPC was formed after persistent demands from the opposition parties at the beginning of the winter session in February and it was mandated to look into India’s telecom policy from 1998 to 2008 that also covers the period of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) rule.

The JPC, at its two meetings so far, has studied the matter and the technical aspects of the mobile telephony and is likely to call witnesses in the case from June 29.

The panel will hear from CBI chief A.P. Singh June 7 and a day later, officials of the union finance ministry will appear before the committee.

Telecom Regulatory Authority Chairman J.S. Sarma will also conclude his presentation on the issue that was incomplete during the May 18 meeting.

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