PM was warned of Raja’s plan to ignore 2G rules

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Old 27-Apr-2011
PM was warned of Raja’s plan to ignore 2G rules

New Delhi: The brazenness with which arrested former telecom minister A Raja bent rules to distribute telecom licences and 2G spectrum allegedly in exchange of bribes could not have surprised PM Manmohan Singh.

An internal note warned Singh that the telecom ministry under Raja intended to ignore advice to refer allocation of 2G spectrum to an empowered group of ministers (EGoM) and that such a course of action violates rules of government business.

The note put up to the PM in November 2007 in the wake of rising concern over Raja’s bid to ram through the ‘first-come, first-served’ policy without considering auctions, clearly said differences between the law and telecom ministries over the need for wider consultations should be resolved by the Cabinet. The PM did ask his office to examine issues, but despite the pitfalls in the interpretation of his policy domain, the DMK leader not only went ahead with his implementation of his preferred policy but also subverted the cabinet system in the process.

If these revelations contained in the PMO and the cabinet secretariat’s communication with the Public Accounts Committee find reflection in the PAC’s report likely to be submitted this week, it will set off fresh confrontation between the government and the opposition. The PAC, headed by BJP leader M M Joshi, is expected to refer to systemic failures in the 2G episode.

The PMO’s assessment followed Singh asking his office for a note on “whether the action proposed to be taken by the (telecom) ministry is correct or not.”

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