Uproar in Parliament over 2G spectrum allocation

Uproar in Parliament over 2G spectrum allocation

New Delhi: The 2G telephony spectrum allocation issue created uproar in Parliament on Wednesday in the wake of reports that a high profile public relation lobbyist acted as a power broker and was in regular touch with telecom minister A. Raja.

The Lok Sabha also witnessed noisy scenes over BJP’s breach of privilege notice against Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for announcing outside Parliament the rejection of the demand for setting up JPC in the IPL and phone tapping issues.

AIADMK leader M. Thambidurai in the Lok Sabha and V. Maitreyan in the Rajya Sabha raised the issue vociferously holding Raja’s “wrong policies" responsible for huge losses to the government.

Several AIADMK and BJP members were seen carrying clippings of a Delhi newspaper report which spoke of the CBI acquiring clinching evidence against the woman lobbyist who acted as power-broker in the alleged mutli-crore 2G spectrum scam.

DMK members led by T.R. Baalu strongly countered AIADMK’s charges following which Speaker Meira Kumar asked members not to make any allegations.

In the Rajya Sabha, Leader of Opposition Arun Jaitley sought to know from the government whether some corporate lobbyists were influencing distribution of portfolios of ministers and whether the 2G spectrum allocation was guided by these forces. “We need the government’s response on these two issues," he said.

The government had issued new telecom licenses in January 2008 along with bundled 4.4 MHz spectrum for 1,658 crore. The opposition has been saying that the licenses have been given at 2001 prices and caused huge loss to the government.

CBI is also investigating alleged irregularities in the spectrum allocation and had registered a case against some unknown officials of the department of telecom (DoT) for their involvement.

Jaitley said when the phone tapping issue came up earlier, the home minister gave a statement in the House saying the government had not authorized any telephone tapping of politicians.

“However, after going through today’s media reports it seems that it (tapping) is very much authorised and contents of conversations too are easily available," he said.

On the issue of breach of privilege against the Prime Minister, the Speaker said the issue was under consideration. The agitated BJP members wanted to speak on the matter and created din leading to adjournment of Lok Sabha till 1400 hrs.

The Rajya Sabha saw two adjournments on the spectrum and phone tapping issues.

Minister of state for parliamentary affairs V. Narayanasamy protested against BJP’s move wondering under what rules they were accusing Prime Minister of committing breach of privilege.

In the Rajya Sabha on the telecom scam issue, agitated AIADMK members demanded dismissal of the telecom minister.

Maitreyan and other AIADMK members continued showing copies of the media report, repeatedly saying, “This is authorised phone tapping".

CPI(M) member Sitaram Yechury sought government’s response, while BJP members Venkaiah Naidu, Prakash Javadekar and S.S. Ahluwalia joined the AIADMK members.