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One-man panel to examine spectrum allotment from 2001

Sandeep Joshi

Report likely in 4 weeks: Sibal

NEW DELHI: The Union government on Thursday formed a one-member committee to examine the processes and procedures followed by the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) in the grant of licences and allocation of spectrum during both the National Democratic Alliance and United Progressive Alliance regimes.

“Retired Supreme Court Judge Shivaraj V. Patil will examine the appropriateness of the procedures adopted by the DoT in the issuance of licences and spectrum allocation during 2001-2009… Hopefully, we will get the report in four weeks,” Communications and Information Technology Minister Kapil Sibal told journalists here on Thursday.

Asked about the objective of setting up a committee when the Comptroller and Auditor-General of India had found gross irregularities in the spectrum allocation procedure, Mr. Sibal said: “The CAG is a constitutional body…it is a recommendatory authority. But the committee will examine internal departmental procedures… it will see whether the procedures [adopted for allocating licences and spectrum] were right, fair and reasonable.”

Mr. Sibal termed the entire exercise an “internal” evaluation of the DoT. “The committee will find out whether the procedures followed in giving spectrum were consistent or not; was there any deviation from the policy framework or any deficiency in procedures; whether the entire process [of spectrum allocation] was fair and transparent; and was there any procedural lapses in giving licences or violation of policies by the DoT itself,” he said.

The committee would have the power to call for any record or summon officials for any clarification or questioning. Through the inquiry, the Ministry would be able to know the entire gamut of procedures adopted since 2001 in the allocation of licences and spectrum, including the controversial 122 licences granted in 2008.

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