इंडियन आवाज़     30 Nov 2023 02:45:52      انڈین آواز

2G: Ambit of scam probe expands to NDA regime

The agency, which filed a fresh status report on its probe, said that it was investigating the allocation of spectrum during 2001-07 when Mahajan, Shourie and Maran (UPA 1) were the Telecom Ministers. It informed the court that the probe in this regard would be completed by the end of this month.

“Jaswant Singh would be examined in due course,” Venugopal told a bench comprising Justices G S Singhvi and A K Ganguly.

Singh was heading the Group of Ministers (GoM) on the issue of limited mobility and unified licensing during the relevant period.

As per reports, the CBI would quiz the BJP leaders on the terms on which Universal Service Agreement Licence (USAL) were granted during the BJP -led National Democratic Alliance government.

In its report to the Supreme court on Thursday, the CBI said that licences granted during the tenure of former telecom minister Arun Shourie and late Pramod Mahajan needs to be examined.

The investigating agency told the two-judge bench of justices GS Singhvi and AK Ganguly that Loop Telecom is a front company for Essar and both companies are guilty of cheating.

In another important development in the high-profile case, the CBI said that prima facie there was no element of coercion found in licences issued between 2001 and 2007, thus giving a virtual clean chit to Dayanidhi Maran.

Senior advocate K K Venugopal appearing for CBI, said investigation has revealed that the company which was taking over Aircel was in contact with Maran, a DMK MP and his brother.

The CBI informed that during Mahajan’s tenure, members of Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) have been meeting the then telecom Secretary Shyamal Ghosh in connection with the Cellular mobile service issue.

Mahajan was Telecom minister between 2001 and 2003 while Shourie held this portfolio from January 2003 to May 2004.

Maran was forced to resign as Union Textiles Minister in July after CBI said it was investigating a complaint against him filed by C Sivasankaran, who owned Aircel in 2006.

CBI said that during Maran’s tenure there was “deliberate delay” to provide letter of intent to the promotor of Aircel.

The agency said after Aircel was sold to the Maxis Group, investments were made by the Malaysian firm into the family business of Marans.

Venugopal said CBI was also probing the allocation of Unified Access Service Licence (UASL) during Shourie’s tenure. Pradeep Baijal was the Chairman of Telecom Regulatory Authority (TRAI) between 2003 and 2006.

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