Although pushed to a corner after Supreme Court scrapped 2G licences issued by it in 2008, the Manmohan Singh government on Thursday appeared resolute to not take any blame for the scam and instead chose to blame then telecom minister A Raja and the NDA government for the same.
Leading the government’s defence, Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal, “We welcome the Supreme Court’s verdict. Government will abide by the judgement on cancellation of 122 2G licences.”
Dismissing suggestions that government has a lot to answer after the verdict, Sibal said, “There is no indictment of government’s telecom policy.”
“Prime Minister and then finance minister were in no way responsible for whatever happened. It was limited to the concerned minister (Raja),” he added.
Opining that the SC judgement has brought clarity in the policy to be adopted while allocating spectrum, Sibal said, “Licence has been delinked from spectrum, henceforth spectrum will be auctioned…the court has termed the first-come-first policy as per se discriminatory.”
“The policy (first-come-first) was faulty, it is the indictment of the BJP government and the allocation was faulty for which the concerned minister (A Raja) is to be blamed,” he pointed out.
Sibal said that the BJP must come clean as they had caused loss of revenue because UPA just followed their policy.
“I expect the BJP to come clean and say that they themselves are responsible for loss of revenue. They must apologise to the people of India,” he said.
However, he was guarded on Raja’s role. Sibal said that whatever he has mentioned is not the view of the Congress party and that it is not a personal indictment of anybody and that DMK is a very valued ally.
“I am just extrapolating what the court said in its order,” he quipped.
On his ministry’s next step, Sibal said, “Will wait for TRAI recommendation for further action.”
“A minister must consult everybody and not commit any irregularity”, Sibal says on lesson learnt after SC judgement.
The BJP responded by saying: “The government is trying to defend the indefensible. If NDA’s policy was wrong then who stopped them from changing it.”
Sibal meets PM to discuss 2G verdict
Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh shortly after the Supreme Court judgement.
He is understood to have discussed the implications of the Court order and steps to be taken.
The government has been asked to seek recommendations from telecom regulator TRAI in this regard and complete the process within four months.
The major companies affected by this verdict are Uninor, Sistema-Shyam, Videocon, Etisalat DB, Loop telecom and Idea among others.