New Delhi: The telecom ministry on Friday said it will decide in a month’s time on cancellation of licences given by former telecom minister A. Raja in 2008 to allegedly ineligible firms.
“We have received replies from all 85 licence holders who were issued showcause notices. We are legally examining them and should be able to take a decision on it in a month’s time,” telecom secretary R. Chandrasekhar told reporters.
He categorically denied that any licence has been cancelled so far.
The telecom ministry has issued notices to firms on two issues -- ineligibility to get licences and missing roll-out obligations within the stipulated timeframe -- and the process to send notices would be completed within a week, he said.
The DoT has to give 60 days to the operators to file their response to the showcause notice for cancellation of licences. “In certain cases, 60 days are over while in some, there is till some time,” officials added.
Raja is facing charges of issuing 122 licences in 2008 without auctioning the scarce resource spectrum, which caused a presumptive loss of over Rs1.76 trillion.
The matter is being examined by various investigating agencies and also a parliamentary panel.
Notices have been issued to Swan Telecom (now Etisalat DB), Datacom (now Videocon Telecom), S Tel, Uninor and others, either due to ineligibility or missing roll out obligations.
In its reply to the Public Accounts Committee, headed by BJP leader Murli Manohar Joshi, the DoT again rejected the allegation of any notional loss due to the issuance of 122 new licences in 2008 and said the premium placed on the scarce resource from the perspective of a producer need not necessarily translate into a loss when seen from the view point of the consumer and public welfare.
“The concept of notional loss when spectrum is given at a price discovered few years earlier has to be balanced with the gains accruing to the consumers and the general improvement in public welfare in the form of faster economic growth,” the DoT said.
The PAC had sent 40 questions to the DoT relating to the 2G spectrum scam. Suggesting that the notional loss reported by the audit report should be seen in light of the benefit that it has given to consumers and general public welfare in the form of quick economic growth, the DoT said the objectives of the Telecom Policy since 1999 was to increase teledensity and affordability for consumers, while maintaining a level playing field between incumbents and new players as well as revenue accrual for the government.