Ex-secretary, official were wary of 2G spectrum sale process

Bhopal, Nov 13 (IANS) Former telecom secretary D.S. Mathur was not the only person unhappy with the process of distribution of licences for 2G spectrum in 2008 during Telecom Minister A. Raja’s tenure.

The ex-telecom secretary told IANS that the then member secretary (finance), telecom commission, Manju Madhwan had to take voluntary retirement from service as she was also not happy with the process.

In September-October 2007, the telecom ministry invited applications for the distribution of 2G spectrum. For 500 licences, 580 applications were received but Raja did not issue any guidelines for allocation of spectrum.

‘I had objection since the beginning… applications for the distribution of 2G spectrum were called but no guidelines were issued how to distribute it. It was not only me who had the objection,’ said Mathur.

‘When I retired on Oct 31, 2007, within a month Manju Madhwan took voluntary retirement from service. It shows she was also not happy with the process,’ revealed Mathur.

Mathur, a former Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer, served as telecom secretary for two years before retiring. He worked with Raja for four months.

‘At that time, he (Raja) lacked vision needed to run a technology-based ministry,’ he said, adding that people in his former office tell him that now Raja’s dealing with matters is better.

‘During my two years in office as secretary, not a single licence was issued,’ added the ex-telecom secretary.

Mathur also mentioned that if any investigating agency would contact him in this regard he would surely cooperate in the inquiry.

Opposition parties have been mounting pressure on the government to act against Raja over his alleged role in the allotment of 2G spectrum in 2008, which it claims is a Rs.1.76 trillion ($40 billion) scandal.

Parliament was adjourned on successive days earlier this week after opposition members continued to press for Raja’s ouster, which led to the disruption of business in both the two houses Wednesday-Thursday.

The opposition has toughened its stand, demanding Raja’s resignation after a report from the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG), which is believed to have indicted Raja, was submitted to the government.

The spectrum, or radio waves, was sold to private telecom service firms in 2008 and the opposition says the price which the exchequer got was a fraction of what was legitimate on account of the alleged scam.

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