The JPC on 2G scam in its draft report blamed the CAG for bringing disrepute to the world’s largest democracy by projecting an astronomical loss figure of `1.76 lakh crore.
Criticising the audit body, the draft report said the very concept of calculation of ‘presumptive loss’ in the context of allocation of licences and spectrum in a CAG report is misleading.
“In the backdrop of the disrepute caused to the nation on account of projection of such astronomical figures in the audit report pitching the country among the most corrupt nations in the world, the committee in hindsight could only wish that the figures projected in the report could have been more realistic deriving out of proven facts,” the draft report stated. The report devoted an entire chapter picking holes in the CAG report on the scam. It questioned the entire audit process saying “how something indicative, notional or suggestive could be treated as loss to the exchequer.”
“What is astonishing is that after presenting the three propositions as indicators, the audit suddenly went ahead termAing the figures as ‘loss to the government on account of grant of new UAS licences and 2G spectrum during 2007-2010,” draft report stated. The JPC endorsed the government policy decision, saying the CAG never took cognizance of benefits extended to the people of the nation at the grass-root level while calculating the loss.
“By any standards, the benefits far outweigh any possible revenue forgone by the government in the process of sustained policy intervention with the broad objective of increasing tele-density and maximising welfare of the people,” the report said.
The draft report dragged in the NDA government blaming its policy that resulted in a loss of `1,443.58 crore to the national exchequer. It says the Department of Telecommunications, at no point of time, calculated the loss suffered by the exchequer due to the migration package during the NDA regime. As per the migration package, the telecom licencees were supposed to pay one-time entry fee and licence fee as a percentage share of gross revenue under the licence.
The JPC charged the NDA government for providing undue favours to some telecom operators by allocating additional spectrum beyond 6.2 MHz and up to 10 MHz to the cellular operators in Mumbai and Delhi Metro Service areas on Jan 31, 2002.
According to the draft report, the note seeking approval of additional spectrum was marked to the then Minister of Communications, the late Pramod Mahajan, who approved the proposal the same day but it was not submitted to Wireless Advisor and the MoS, who were all said to be out of station. Report says a general order was issued on February 1, 2002 and instant allotment of spectrum was given to the existing cellular operators in Delhi and Mumbai Metro Circles.
The JPC claimed that the additional spectrum charge was deliberately under-valued to favour some telecom operators causing revenue loss to the exchequer.