December 17 2011 :
Margshirsh Krushna Saptami, Kaliyug Varsha 5113
New Delhi: Janata Party chief Subramanian Swamy today urged a Delhi court to make P Chidambaram an accused in the 2G case for his alleged role in allowing two telecom firms to earn windfall profits by offloading their shares to foreign firms.
Deposing as a witness in support of his private complaint, he told Special CBI Judge OP Saini that the then finance minister was also culpable like A Raja, then telecom minister, as they were party to the decision of non-revision of entry fees of Rs 1658 crore, decided in 2001 during NDA regime.
Chidambaram, as Finance Minister, had allowed accused Swan Telecom and Unitech Wireless to earn windfall profits by offloading their shares to UAE-based Etisalat and Norway-based Telenor respectively after getting the Unified Access Services Licenses (UASL).
“As far as charge against A Raja is concerned it is that Swan and Unitech were allowed to offload their shares to Etisalat and Telenor respectively,” Swamy testified.
The Janata Party leader also referred to a document of 5 November 2008 on a meeting between Raja and Chidambaram, that the finance minister had clarified that the dilution of shares by the two firms did not amount to sale of UASL and was permissible under corporate law.
“Ministry of Home Affairs had then raised objections regarding Etisalat (the company to which Swan Telecom allegedly offloaded its shares) in India,” he said.
“Mr P Chidambaram was aware at least on January 9, 2008 of what Mr Raja was planning to do on January 10, 2008 (the day four counters were made in DoT to grant Letters of Intent by allegedly flouting first-come-serve policy),” he said.
Swamy also said “Raja could not be guilty of this charge (deciding to stick with the price of spectrum fixed in 2001) alone but he committed this offence with the active connivance of P Chidambaram, presently the Home Minister”.
Chidambaram and Raja, as Finance and Telecom ministers respectively, were empowered by a 2003 Cabinet decision to determine the spectrum price jointly and this fact has been corroborated by a statement of the Prime Minister made in the Rajya Sabha, he said.
“The Prime Minister has also corroborated this in his statement made on the floor of Rajya Sabha on February 24, 2011. It is stated that the government policy on pricing of spectrum was taken on the basis of a cabinet decision of 2003 which specifically left the issue to the Minister of Finance and the Minister of Telecommunications,” he, referring to the PM’s statement, said.
Swamy said that “in pursuance of this empowerment, the two ministers, Chidambaram and Raja, met on four occasions first on January 30, 2008, second on May 29, third on June 12 the same year and then subsequently, an agreement was reached. And the meeting of minds took place and later, they met the Prime Minister to convey their agreement on the question of price of spectrum.”
He referred to the minutes of meeting, held on January 30, 2008, which recorded that “the Finance Minister was for now not seeking to revisit the current regime of entry fee and revenue share”.
“The same document further states that spectrum upto 6.2 MHz may not be priced,” he said.
The recording of Swamy’s statement remained inconclusive and would be resumed on 7 January as he sought time to place on record some more documents.
Earlier, the court had allowed Swamy’s plea to re-open his statement in the case in view of the emergence of some new facts about the identity of other co-conspirators.
It had, however, said his plea to summon other witnesses, including some government officials, in the case shall be allowed only after relevance of their testimonies is explained.
Swamy had earlier also referred to the allegations that Swan Telecom was allotted UAS licences for 13 circles for Rs 1,537 crore and it offloaded 45 percent of its shares in the licences before the roll-out to Etisalat of UAE for Rs 4,200 crores.
Similarly, Unitech was allotted UAS licences for 22 circles for Rs 1,658 crore and it offloaded 60 percent of its shares in the licences to M/s Telenor of Norway for Rs 6,100 crore even before the roll-out, he had said.
Source : PTI