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2G: Sibal defends Chidambaram
TT Correspondent |  |  10 Dec 2011

The Union Minister for Communications and Information Technology Kapil Sibal on Saturday came out strongly in defense of his cabinet colleague and Home Minister P Chidambaram rejecting all allegations against him in 2G spectrum allocation case.


He said that the 2G  debate has taken a perverse turn and the NDA, besides some individuals, is making an attempt to malign and defame Shri P Chidambaram, Home Minister ever since  the Performance Audit Report on “Issue of Licences and Allocation of 2G spectrum was submitted.

“We, in Government, categorically reject all such allegations. Shri P Chidambaram is a valued colleague and has discharged his responsibilities without fear or favour and with absolute integrity and devotion”, he said addressing a press conference in New Delhi. 

 Sibal said that the government is concerned that the public arena is being converted into a forum for a public trial of allegations and counter-allegations.


“Based on a Cabinet decision dated October 31, 2003, guidelines for the Unified Access Service Licences (UASL) were issued on November 11, 2003. On ‘entry fee’, the Cabinet decision of October 31, 2003 was that: 

On the contentious issue of ‘spectrum pricing, he said  the Department of Telecom and Ministry of Finance would also finalize spectrum pricing formula, which will include incentive for efficient use of spectrum as well as disincentive for sub-optimal usages

“All UAS licences given subsequently under the new regime were given after charging the same entry fee of about Rs.1650 crore on a first-come-first-served basis. There was no fresh auction. The licence had provisions for allocation of a certain amount of spectrum subject to availability. 

Reeling out facts Sibal said that on August 28, 2007, TRAI recommended that there should be no change in the policy in allotting 2G spectrum on the ground that there should be a level playing field for new entrants. DoT strongly relied on the said recommendation and reiterated the policy of no auction; no cap on number of licences; first-come-first-served basis; same entry fee; and licence bundled with spectrum. 

He said that during the period up to the issue of Letters of Intent on January 10, 2008, Shri A Raja, then Minister of Communications, did not hold any meeting with Shri P Chidambaram, then Finance Minister. DoT turned down the suggestion of revision of entry fee and maintained that, based on TRAI’s recommendations, DoT would continue with the same policy that had been followed since 2003. Shri A Raja also assured the Prime Minister that the policy would be implemented in a fair and transparent manner. 

“Letters of Intent were issued to new entrants on January 10, 2008. It is the validity of these LoIs that is now in issue”, he added. 

Sibal said that as Finance Minister, it was Chidambaram who raised the issue of revision of entry fee. However, the final view taken by DoT was that it would adopt the same policy that had been followed since 2003, including charging the same entry fee of about Rs.1650 crore.

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10 Dec 2011(IST)  
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