2G probe finds officials violated rules

2G probe finds officials violated rules

New Delhi: Several officials violated rules or did nothing to prevent irregularities during the grant of mobile phone licences, an independent probe found in the latest indictment of the scandal-tainted government.

The report by former Supreme Court judge Shivraj Patil could provide fresh ammunition to the main opposition party which has blocked Parliament over charges corruption in the ministry cost the state coffers as much as $39 billion in lost revenue.

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“We have identified the officials on whose part either there was deficiency or violation or lapse," Patil said on Monday, after he submitted his report to telecom minister Kapil Sibal.

Patil was appointed to identify problems in the process of granting telecom licences between 2001 and 2009, after a state auditor report detailed the possible revenue losses due to irregularities in the manner they were given out in 2007.

The report sparked off a political deadlock between the ruling Congress and main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and has had investors worry about the stability of India’s business and regulatory environment.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s government has since then been fighting to stem the impact of this and other corruption cases, pushing policymaking and economic reforms into limbo.

The contents of Patil’s report were not made public and Sibal said his ministry would study it and decide on what to do.

It was not immediately clear whether the officials named acted during the 2007 period or during earlier rounds of licensing during the years when the BJP was in power.

The Congress has been in power since 2004, when it defeated the BJP in general polls.