Fact Sheet: 2G Scam Verdict
A special court acquitted A Raja and all other accused in the 2g spectrum issue, considered as one of the largest scams in the country in the tenure of Manmohan led UPA govt. The shocking part is that all of them have been accused because of lack of evidence.
What is 2g spectrum?
2g is an abbreviation of wireless telephone technology. The word ‘spectrum’ refers to range of radio waves that are used for communication purposes .Since waves surround us all the times and pass through everything ,this means that spectrum needs to be monitored.
So the government divides the spectrum which is a national wealth into bands and and manages the spectrum across the country by assigning to different telecom circles.
Thus, in order for a telecom company to offer continual access across India , it would have to bid for spectrum licenses in 22 existing circles. Now a spectrum like any other natural resource is required to be auctioned by the government to companies that can use this to provide a number of services.
What was the case?
The scam dates back to 2011 when A Raja, the main accused and telecom minister from 2007 to 2010, was arrested by the CBI on charges of colluding with private companies and granting them spectrum licences at unjustly low prices causing a huge loss to the public exchequer. It involved politicians, bureaucrats and corporate executives whose nexus with each other resulted in a huge loss to the exchequer. Supreme Court on a PIL even declared the allotment as unconstitutional and cancelled the 122 licences issued under A Raja ministerial period. Following were the key irregularities found in the case:
- Undervalued the telecom spectrum leading to a presumptive loss of Rs 1.76 lakh crore, according to Comptroller and Auditor General report.
- License distribution was done on a distorted first come first served basis and that too at 2001 prices when a competitive bidding process should have been followed.
- Granting license to front companies which was not allowed. For eg- Swan Telecom was not even allowed to bid for spectrum being a front company for the Reliance Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group.
- Cut off dates were advanced arbitrarily to 25th september from 1st october 2007 without informing TRAI.Moreover, allegedly application counters were shut to block competing companies from applying for licences. It is said On 25 September, the DOT announced on its website that applicants filing between 3:30 and 4:30 pm that day would be granted licenses.
Does the 2g spectrum case raise questions on the capability about efficacy of the institution of CBI?
Despite filing the charge sheet of more than 80,000 pages supported by CAG findings of loss to the exchequer to the tune of 1.76 lakh crore and further investigation of more than 6 years ,CBI failed to establish the criminality of any of the accused. This raises questions on the CBIs credibility as an institution. Moreover, the image has not only been dented by this case but also due to its conduct in the previous cases.
The root of the problem is that the CBI does not have a proper statuary enactment which can ensure its autonomy.