Cannot catch officers at Airtel and Vodafone in spectrum case: CBI

BABURAJAN’S BLOG: CBI on Friday said they could not identify officers responsible at Airtel, Vodafone, etc in additional spectrum case: CBI

To a specific question from a Delhi court judge, CBI prosecutor K K Goyal said they had tried their best to find out if any company officials were part of the conspiracy but they could not find anybody’s name.

“We could not find out anybody’s name. We tried to find out who are the persons who instigated this but we could not find out. We tried our best,” the prosecutor said.

I am trying to understand that the 2G spectrum was given to some of the Indian telecom operators without the involvement of their senior officers. CBI was decent enough to identify Indian bureaucrats or government servants — former Telecom Secretary Shyamal Ghosh.

The telecom industry was sure that Shyamal Ghosh will not disclose details. I do not have the CBI background. But I am a journalist. My basic assumption is that the 2G spectrum will be released after signing an agreement (at least a note in this special transfer).

If the deal is behind the scenes without any document, CBI should be able to question the top bosses of wireless operators. All these mobile ventures have responsible bosses. It’s not like our several less active government offices. If these operators have not done any mistakes, they should be free from these cases urgently. The mobile industry should not treat the promoters of Airtel and Vodafone as culprits.

Hope CBI was not expecting Vodafone, Airtel, etc. to share the names of senior officers, who were responsible for buying additional spectrum during the NDA regime, in a record book.

As a telecom journalist for more than 15 years, I am unable to understand the politics of telecom this time.

If there is no case against them, please do not punish them. But CBI cannot file a one sided case.

Next week, India will auction CDMA spectrum for one bidder. I always thought auction will happen if there are two bidders and there is a competition. Otherwise, how can the telecom ministry assess the best market price for CDMA spectrum. In the case of CDMA spectrum, MTS India (Sistema Shyam Teleservices) can win spectrum in 10 circles for the base price fixed (and revised) by the government. Here there’s no politics.

PTI today reported that the CBI was grilled by a Delhi court for only blaming government servants and not naming any company officials in connection with the charge sheet against Airtel, Vodafone and others for alleged irregularities in the allocation of additional spectrum to them during NDA regime.

“In a conspiracy, there must be two parties. You (CBI) are blaming only the government servants. Why not the private persons? Who did the conspiracy with the government servants?” Special CBI Judge O P Saini asked.

The Delhi court is right.

As I mentioned earlier, our courts are way ahead of our ministries. They are doing a commendable job in several occasions.

The court, after hearing CBI’s arguments, reserved its order for March 19 on the issue of taking cognisance of the charge sheet. During the hearing, CBI told the court that no resolution was passed by these companies for applying for additional spectrum.

Baburajan K
[email protected]