A key prosecution witness of the 2G spectrum allocation case today told a Delhi court that the method followed for allocation of spectrum "did not conform" to the first-come-first-served (FCFS) policy.
A K Srivastava, who retired as the deputy director general (DDG) (Access Services) from the DoT, said the opening of four counters for distribution of the letter of intents (LoIs) as approved by the then Telecom Secretary Sidharath Behura, also an accused in the case, did not conform to the FCFS policy.
"No. The scheme of distribution of LoIs by opening four counters, as approved by Sidharath Behura, did not conform to FCFS issuance of these documents, as the distribution was neither on simultaneous basis nor on FCFS basis," Srivastava told Special CBI Judge O P Saini.
Deposing as a prosecution witness in the case, Srivastava said, "For simultaneous issuance, fourteen counters were required to be opened, whereas for distribution on FCFS basis, only one counter was sufficient to issue the LoIs / responses, sequentially based on date of receipt of applications in DoT."
He said on January 10, 2008, R K Chandolia, the then private secretary to Telecom Minister A Raja, conveyed to him that LoIs must be issued on the day itself and suggested him the modalities for issuance of LoIs by opening four counters.
Srivastava said he and other DoT officials had not agreed with Chandolia's proposal after which he was told to come to Behura's room to decide the modalities for issuance of LoIs.
"Sidharath Behura told me that LoIs must be issued today itself as it has been desired by MOC&IT A Raja and the scheme of four counters, suggested to you earlier by R K Chandolia, was a correct proposition," he said.
The CBI, in its charge sheet, had alleged that Raja, in conspiracy with others, had changed the FCFS policy to favour some telecom companies.
Srivastava deposed that he explained the "difficulties and limitations" in issuance of such large number of LoIs in one day, but Behura told him to do it.
"He (Behura) asked me that it had to be done and I should telephonically inform all the Unified Access Services (UAS) Licence applicant companies, who applied up to September 25, 2007 and dual technology applicants to collect the LoIs at 3.30 PM from Sanchar Bhawan on that day itself," he said.
The CBI, in its charge sheet, had said that the FCFS policy was violated and "the said procedure was manipulated by accused Raja in conspiracy with Siddhartha Behura and R K Chandolia and was redefined to benefit Sanjay Chandra, MD of Unitech Ltd, Unitech Wireless (Tamil Nadu) Pvt Ltd, accused Shahid Balwa, Vinod Goenka and Swan Telecom Pvt Ltd."
Raja, Behura and Chandolia, along with others, including DMK MP Kanimozhi, is facing trial in the case for the offences of cheating, forgery, criminal conspiracy and corruption besides criminal breach of trust that entails a maximum punishment of life imprisonment.