Wednesday, February 8, 2012

2G Spectrum - The Game Is Still On

 Last Saturday(Feb 4th),saw some tense moments.The media was too busy in discussing it.The question was 'Will the trial court order a probe against our honorable Home Minister Mr.P Chidambaram?".Everyone were eagerly awaiting the trial court's judgement.And finally the Special CBI court judge OP Saini delivered the verdict.After the judgement was out,emotions were running high.The Congress party thrashed Subramanian Swamy like anything.As usual 'the most intelligent minister' Mr.Kapil Sibal made some brainy statements. And the latest congress minister to join this 'brainy' group is Mrs.Ambika Soni.

These were the statements issued by Mr.Sibal and Mrs.Soni

"Home Minister P. Chidambaram was not responsible for the 2G scam at all," - Kapil Sibal

"Swamy lives by the media and has done this to keep himself alive." - Ambika Soni

On Swamy's statement that he would take the plea to higher courts, Soni said: "Truth will remain truth, no matter how many times it is tested."

 Kapil Sibal has announced it. Chidambaram was not responsible for the 2G scam at all. Why to waste our time and money in court unnecessarily.But I would like recollect the statement made by this intelligent minister some months back.This is the same Kapil Sibal, who claimed that the 2G spectrum allocations by Raja caused no loss(or Zero Loss,which was a popular phrase) to the exchequer."Absolutely. If you look at it in cost benefit terms, there is no public loss." (check this link: ). His argument is that Raja followed the policies of the previous NDA govt and it caused no loss to the exchequer whereas there was a loss of around 1,50,000 crore during the NDA rule.(check this link).

If we take his statements seriously, we can come to a conclusion that,under the UPA rule, there was no 2G scam at all.But now he says, Chidambaram was not responsible for the 2G scam.This is about Mr.Kapil Sibal.Let us come back to him later.

After the verdict was out,not only Mrs.Soni,so many 'secular/rational-intellectuals', thrashed Mr.Swamy like anything.And I could even come across some funny comments like 'this judgement is a slap to Hindutva fanatics'. This clearly shows the frustration of the 'secularists'. According to these secularists and rationalists,filing a case against 'alleged' irregularities is wrong.Anyway that's rationalism and secularism,the 'meaning of which' will vary time and again, and I am not bothered about it.

Another judgement too created a huge buzz in the media last week. It is the cancellation of all the 122 licenses issued by the former telecom minister Mr.A.Raja.[Refer SC cancels 122 'arbitrary' 2G licences
. - Source]. The congress spokespersons,ministers and its supporters were making lot of noise, on this verdict.They all together say in one voice that "the UPA govt followed the policies of the previous NDA government" and again our Kapil Sibal wants the BJP to apologize to the nation for following the policy of first come first serve and the congress party wants to pass the buck completely to BJP.This is ridiculous.Let us see what has actually happened in this 2G spectrum allocation.

In 1994,the cellphone license were given only in metros.Then in 1995,the licenses were auctioned and some companies bought it by paying a huge sum.Later on they suffered losses as they have paid huge sum for these licenses and the no. of users were very less.In 1999,these companies could not pay back some 3700 crore to the government.They also could not pay the bank loans back. To manage this crisis,the then NDA govt,under Mr.Vajpayee, introduced the revenue system.They considered the amount to be paid back to the govt as an entry fee for those companies and they entered into an agreement that these companies should pay 8% of their earnings to the government. In 2003 the no. of mobile phone users in India was just 1.3Crore and the number was as high as 58cr in 2008.Upto 2006,the cellphone companies didn't have any reasonable profit,but it was after 2006,there was a huge boom in the telecom industry. - Mr.S Gurumurthy and for Source click here.

This is more like selling a land or house.When the demand is high,the lands will be sold at a high price.Same way, when there was an exponential growth in the telecom sector between 2001 and 2008,is it right to allocate the spectrum in 2008 for the prices fixed in 2001? Any sensible person will understand the difference between the policies followed during the Vajpayee govt and the successive Manmohan Singh's govt.The former govt followed this policy to rescue the telecom companies while the latter continued with this policies for the 'alleged' personal gains.

Coming to Chidambaram, why is the CBI so adamant that it will not probe him?The same CBI probed Mr.Jaswant Singh.He was the finance minister during the NDA regime and was heading the Group of Ministers on the issue of limited mobility and spectrum allocation.When the CBI wants to probe him,why not Chidambaram? And the Supreme court has cancelled only those licenses that were issued during the UPA govt and not a single license issued during the previous BJP govt was cancelled.The Supreme Court's judgement is a clear indictment of the congress govt.But still the CBI is reluctant to probe Chidambaram.

Now let us see what the trial court judgement says:

"In a case of criminal conspiracy, the court has to see whether two persons are independently pursuing the same end or they are acting together in pursuit of an unlawful act. One may be acting innocently and other may be actuated by criminal intention. Innocuous, inadvertent or innocent acts do not make one party to the conspiracy," Saini said in his order.
The court admits that "there is material on record" to show that Chidambaram agreed with A Raja about fixing the spectrum pricing at 2001 rate. "However, there is no material on record to show that P Chidambaram was acting mala-fide in fixing the price of spectrum at the 2001 level or in permitting dilution of equity by the two companies.

- Source

According Mr.Saini,A Raja fixed the spectrum prices with criminal intention and P Chidambaram approved it innocently. If this is his assumption,it is wrong(thats my opinion).Anyone with common sense would not have accepted to follow this policy of first come first serve when the no. of users were quite high.Well for the sake of argument,let us consider that Raja followed the policy of his predecessors.But why did he advance the cut off date by 1 week?The BJP didn't follow this approach.So the claim that Raja followed the policy of the previous govt itself is flawed.

And that is not the end of the story.See what Raja had to say about PM and Chidambaram in court.

"The Finance Minister approved the sale in the presence of the PM. Let the Prime Minister deny it," said Mr Raja. - Source click here.

So it is crystal clear that Chidambaram was aware of everything in the spectrum allocation.Why didn't he object it?And in my opinion,even the honorable Prime Minister of India, Mr.Manmohan Singh has to be probed thoroughly.The biggest crime is being blind to the mistakes happening around.Raja is accountable to Manmohan Singh.So atleast Mr.Singh should have stopped him.He wrote a letter to Raja stating that following this policy in spectrum allocation doesn't seem to be right.For this Raja replied that,what he is doing is right.For this letter the Prime Minister again replied to Raja that "I acknowledge the receipt of your letter".So Mr.Singh didn't make any effort to stop this.This clearly shows he was aware of everything and yet he didn't take any action.

And coming back to Chidambaram,Mr.Saini says Chidambaram might be innocent.Well,see this link ,here justice G S Singhvi says that the finance department objected to the approach followed in spectrum allocation.So it is clear that the finance department felt there was something fishy in this approach and hence objected to it.Even after making these objections,why did he approve the prices fixed by Raja?Why did the Prime Minister fail to stop this?

If you think the trial court has given a clean chit to Mr.Chidambaram and if you are celebrating that its a slap to Mr.Swamy,its your opinion.But the fact is that the game is still not over.This is not the first time Mr.Swamy's plea was rejected in a lower court.On several occasions the apex court has dismissed the judgements of the lower courts.Even in this 2G issue Mr.Swamy filed an application with the Prime Minister  for permission to prosecute Raja.

"But the PM didn't respond to this application. Swamy moved the Delhi High Court for a direction to the PM to take a decision on his plea. The high court dismissed Swamy’s petition.But, undeterred, Swamy moved the Supreme Court.The Supreme Court asked for an explanation from the PMO for the delayFirst, the court has set aside the judgment of the Delhi High Court that had refused to direct the PM to decide on Swamy’s plea. Second, it has ruled that it is the constitutional right of a citizen to move to prosecute any public servant. Third, the authority to whom the application is made for permission to prosecute should take a decision within three months and if, within four months, no decision is taken, the permission shall be deemed to be granted. The import of the Supreme Court judgment is evident. " - source.

So the trial court's judgement is not the final verdict.And Swamy has all the rights to move the Supreme Court. We should wait for the Supreme Court's judgement on this issue.

P.S. : Either the 2G issue will be buried like bofors or else Raja will be made a scapegoat - my opinion.

1 comment:

Apurba Pandey said...

Dude... have proved each ur words here.. A very nice blog.. GIve these to some newspaper.. they might be interested...