2G Spectrum Scam
In this article I am going to give you full details of “2G Spectrum Scam”. There have been many scams in India among which 2G spectrum, is the largest. It is one of the largest scam because when it took place, India’s economy was declining. You will get to know following things in this article :
- What was the 2G spectrum allocation “scam” all about ?
- Was there even a loss?What did the court say?
- How CBI’s prosecution fared ?
- What’s ahead ?
What was the 2G spectrum allocation “scam” all about ?
May 2007: A.Raja of DMK (Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam: a poliical party, Nilgiris constituency of Tamil Nadu) takes over as Telecom Minister.
Aug 2007: Process of allotment of 2G Spectrum initiated by Department of Telecom (DoT).
WHAT IS SPECTRUM ?
Spectrum is the range of frequencies that some device/object does emit/handle/allows through/filter out.
Spectrum is all around us, basically these are air waves which carry information.
Let me explain you through some examples:
Suppose you want to start a radio station and you want your voice to be listened all over India through radio, without any physical medium i.e. without wires. So for that you will need a medium to transmit those signals.
And the medium which facilitates this is knows as spectrum. You will need a wavelength with a unique frequency (say 85 MHz).
In simple terms you can refer spectrum as invisble roads, which are all around and transfer information from one point to other.
These information’s (transferred) could be understood as calls/sms/radio which you use in daily life.
And this medium (spectrum) is bought through government since this is a natural resource.(explained in next section)
Government has assigned an authority for its allocation and management, which distributes (sells) this to companies who need it at a certain price.
WHY IS TELECOM SPECTRUM A NATURAL RESOURCE ?
Natural Resources are all that exists without the actions of humankind. And this includes all natural characteristics such as magnetic , gravitational, and electrical properties and forces.
Spectrum is nothing but a range of electromagnetic wave which is used as communication carrier. It is natural resource because of its availability. Moreover, you cannot use same spectrum for multiple purpose at one particular area.
You can see that the spectrum demand is huge and is continuously increasing. Thus you get limited data speed on 3G & 4G just because of scarcity of spectrum.
2G Spectrum Scam: NOTES
While 2G services were launched in India were 900 MHz (and later 1800 MHz. It is also being used for 4G), 3G services ran on both 900 MHz and 2100 MHz in India.
Initially, LTE required a higher frequency for greater data speeds it offered. But technology advances made it possible to use 1800 MHz instead.
INTERNATIONAL TELECOMMUNICATION UNION :
A specialized agency of the United Nations (UN) that is responsible for issues that concern information and communication technologies.
Headquarters: Geneva, Switzerland
Since government realized its importance. Following events took place :
2G Spectrum Scam : TIMELINE
Sept 25,2007 : Telecom Ministry issued press note fixing deadline for applications as October 1,2007.
Oct 1,2007 : DoT (Department of Telecom) receives 575 applications by 46 firms.
Nov 2,2007 : PM wrote A.Raja (Telecom Minister) to ensure fair license allocation and proper revision of fee.
Raja wrote to PM allegedly rejecting many of his recommendations.
Nov 22,2007 : Finance Ministry wrote DoT raising concerns over the procedure adopted.
Now from here the unusual action begins…
Jan 10,2008 : Dot decided to issue licences on first-come-first-serve basis (FCFS), preponed cut-off date to September 25.
Deadline shift : an odd activity for FCFS (First-Come-First-Serve) basis.
Later in the day, DoT said those who apply beteween 3:30 and 4:30 pm would be issued licences.
Who bought this service ?
Many companies bought this service including Swan Telecom, Unitech and Tata Teleservices.
Most importantly, telecom ministry sold this service at a very less rate than the actual rate.
2008 : Swan Telecom, Unitech and Tata Teleservices sold off part of their stakes at much higher rates to Etisalat,Telenor and DoCoMo respectively.
This all was combined scam of Ministry and Companies.
Niira Radia worked as a lobbyist (lobbyist : in simple words an intermediate between companies and ministry) in this scam.
Scam disclosed !!
This huge scam was disclosed when phone conversation between lobbyist “Niira Radia” and telecom minister “A.Raja” was leaked out.
Thus this scam got a huge attention in media. And as a result further events took place.
2009 : CVC directed CBI to investigate the matter.
Nov 14-15,2010 : Raja resigned as Telecom Minister.
Additional charge of Telecom Ministry was given toKapil Sibal.
Feb 10,2011 : After that SC asked CBI to bring under its scanner corporate houses which were beneficiaries of the 2G spectrum.
So Raja remanded to CBI custody for four more days by a special CBI court with Balwa.
Feb 17-18,2011 : After that Raja was sent to Tihar Jail under judicial custody.
Balwa too jailed.
March 14,2011 : Thus the Delhi High Court settled up special court to deal exclusively with 2G cases.
2G Spectrum Scam : THEN…
This alleged scam is one of the biggest scam in India’s history. And the CAG report estimating a notional loss of Rs 1.76 lakh crores to the exchequer.
Significantly, in 2012 the Supreme Court had cancelled all the spectrum licences allocated. As it was convinced of procedural irregularities.
December 21,2017: The special court acquitted A.Raja, Kanimozhi. And all other were accused in the case.
(Kanimozhi: daughter of M.Karunanidhi,former Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu.)
So following are the statements from various individuals :
Statement of Special CBI judge OP Saini :
So OP Saini gave the following statements :
“I have absolutely no hesitation in holding that prosecutions has miserably failed to prove any charge against any of the accused, made in its well-choreographed charge-sheet”.
Judge Saini scathingly ruled in a 2,000 page order that
“…some people created a scam by artfully arranging a few selected facts and exaggerating things beyond recognition to astronomical levels.”
Statement of Arun Jaitely :
So in response, former Finance Minister Arun Jaitely referred to the 2012 Supreme Court ruling that :
“This was a corrupt, dishonest policy upheld by the Supreme Court in February 2012. Each and every case of spectrum allocation was quashed by the Supreme Court as unfair and arbitrary.”
Statement of Subramanian Swamy :
So Subramanian Swamy gave following statements :
This is very bad judgement. On appeal,this verdict will be set aside.
On Kapil Sibal’s zero loss theory, “This isn’t final verdict. And Congress happiness is short-lived.”
“Special Judge OP Saini in his report said he could not understand what CBI wanted to prove.“
However former Attorney General is supporting the judgement.
“It wasn’t appropriate to appoint Mukul Rohatgi as AG.”
The CAG audit estimated the loss was Rs 1.76 lakh crore. The CBI filled 80,000 page charge sheet and said the loss was 30,985 crore only.
A huge Conspiracy !!!
So I hope you got all necessary details about this 2G spectrum scam. There are many more such scams. If you want to know about them, read our article : “Financial Frauds in India”
Thank you !!