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PM Should Break Silence On 2G Spectrum Allocation, Says BJP

Expressing surprise at Telecom Minister A Raja's comparison of 2G Spectrum to PDS rice, BJP on Thursday  alleged that he had indulged in "corruption and nepotism" to favour some companies and asked the Prime Minister
PTI May 20, 2010 23:08 IST
PTI
Expressing surprise at Telecom Minister A Raja's comparison of 2G Spectrum to PDS rice, BJP on Thursday  alleged that he had indulged in "corruption and nepotism" to favour some companies and asked the Prime Minister to break his silence on the issue.  

"The PDS rice is distributed to the economically deprived. The 2G spectrum was allotted to Reliance Communications, Airtel, Vodafone, Swan Telecom, Videocon, Unitech etc. Surely these are not deprived sections of the society, which needed to be subsidised by A Raja," BJP spokesperson Nirmala Sitharaman said.  

She described Raja's statement that difference between 2G and 3G spectrum is a difference between PDS rice and the Basmati rice as "astonishing".  

Alleging that 2G Spectrum went "for a song" as borne out by the auction of 3G which realised an amount of Rs 67,710 crore against Rs 1,651 crore for the former, BJP demanded a clarification from Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Raja's role in the earlier auction.  

"How fair is the Prime Minister's silence on this issue? How long will the Prime Minister look the other way and pretend that nothing has happened?... Only an FIR was filed by CBI in the case and chargesheet has not been filed as yet. 3G has only proved that the minister indulged in wrong practices," Sitharaman said.  

The main opposition hailed the success of 3G auction, saying it showed how auctions involved a process where the market mechanism determined the real cost of the asset being sold.  

"Spectrum is a valuable national asset. It belongs to the government. When it is sold for to the private parties, the government must necessarily get the market price of the Spectrum," Sitharaman said.  

BJP also tried to take credit for "transparent auctioning" of 3G Spectrum, arguing that its criticism of 2G allocation had forced the government to be "fair this time".  

It also demanded that all issues related to 2G Spectrum be probed.  

"Two of the allottees diluted their equity immediately upon the allocation of 2G Spectrum," Sitharaman alleged.  

The licence and the Spectrum, which they obtained for Rs 1,651 crore, acquired a valuation of two billion dollars, or over Rs. 9,000 crore, for dilution of equity, she said.  

"Nine All India licences were allotted on this price. Even on this valuation the loss was over Rs 60,000 crore," the BJP spokesperson claimed. PTI