A week after he was appointed as head of Empower Group of Ministers on telecom, the agriculture minister Sharad Pawar on Monday quit from the post saying that false allegations had been levelled against him in 2G case.
In a letter to the prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Pawar expressed apprehensions that his association in the decision making process as the Chairman of the EGOM, may further motivate the vested elements to try to drag me in the controversy.
“As such, I thought it will be appropriate for me to recuse myself from the position of the Chairman of the EGOM on this subject”, he said.
He said that attempts have been made in the past to unnecessary drag him in the controversy surrounding the allocation of 2G spectrum.
“These allegations were false and ill-motivated, which I strongly refuted. Neither in the personal capacity nor in the official, I was connected with any of the decision making process in this sector”, Pawar said.
In February 2012, the Supreme Court cancelled 122 2G telecom licences issued during the tenure of former telecom minister A Raja, and asked the government to complete spectrum auction by August 31.
Corporate lobbyist Nira Radia had alleged as per the general perception in Mumbai as well as outside, DB Realties directly or indirectly is controlled by Sharad Pawar and his family members. Shahid Balwa and Vinod Goenka are key persons in DB Realty."
Pawar’s unexpected departure from EGoM has also put a question mark on whether the process of auction could be completed before the deadline set by the Supreme Court.
Apart from the decision on base or reserve price, the EGoM is expected to deliberate if telecom companies can mortgage spectrum or airwaves for seeking loans from the banks and financial institutions.
The decision taken by EGoM will set the tone for telecom industry which is facing uncertainty and threat from foreign investors to exit from country if the decision does not suits them.