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Probe 2G scam to recover losses, says CPI-M

New Delhi, Nov 18 (IANS) A Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) probe into the 2G spectrum row should lead to the recovery of Rs.176,379 crore the government lost because of the way it was awarded, the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) has said.

Companies which got the 2G spectrum ‘at throwaway prices must be made retrospectively to pay the difference… The licenses of those who refuse to do so must be cancelled and these must be freshly auctioned’, said an editorial in the party organ ‘People’s Democracy’.

‘Probing the 2G spectrum scam is not only in the interest of upholding political morality. This is absolutely essential. The probe, however, must also result in recovering to the national exchequer the loss estimated by the CAG to be of a mammoth Rs.176,379 crore,’ the journal said.

It added: ‘Our estimations of this loss … is to the tune of Rs.190,000 crore.’

The CPI-M explained why a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) probe was needed into the spectrum controversy, over which A. Raja resigned from the cabinet as the communication and IT minister Sunday night.

‘In the interests of the country, it is absolutely essential that this colossal scam must be thoroughly probed. Hence the demand for a JPC.

‘The JPC must not only identify the culprits and prepare the grounds for their punishment but it must also study the manner in which the system has been so grossly manipulated to allow such a scam to take place.

‘On this basis, more effective rules and regulations must be drawn up to ensure that such known avenues of manipulation are minimised, if not plugged.’

The journal said the recovery of the money was not only to reassert public morality but to improve the livelihood of the Indian poor.

It said that to provide all poor families 35 kg of foodgrains at Rs.3 a kilo, it would cost an additional food subsidy of Rs.84,399 crore.

‘The loot in the 2G spectrum scam is nearly double of what is required to provide food security to all Indians.

‘Or, for that matter, to ensure education for all, it is estimated by the National Institute for Educational Planning and Administration (NIEPA) to cost Rs.34,000 crore annually for the next five years.

‘This is less than what has been looted in this 2G spectrum scam. The scam accounts for nearly six times of the health budget proposed for this year.’

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