BJP, CPI want PM's answer on 2G spectrum pricing

Last Updated: Fri, Oct 19, 2012 10:50 hrs

New Delhi, Oct 19 (IANS) With a former top bureaucrat claiming he sought a hike in the 2G spectrum entry fee a month ahead of the allocations in January 2008, the BJP and the CPI Friday sought a response from Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on why he did not act on the advice.

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad, responding to the claims of former cabinet secretary K.M. Chandrasekhar, said questions needed to be answered as to why the prime minister did not respond to the bureaucrat's letter or take a contrary view and allow allocation of spectrum at a lower price.

"These are important questions. If the JPC is for having a fair probe, it can happen only after knowing what the prime minister did on the opinion given by the cabinet secretary. The prime minister should have ensured that the spectrum is not allocated at a lower price," he said here.

Prasad is member of the JPC probing the 2G spectrum allocation and represents the BJP from the Rajya Sabha.

Communist Party of India's (CPI) Gurudas Dasgupta, who is also a JPC member and who had quizzed Chandrasekhar in the panel meeting Thursday, said it was the "constitutional responsibility" of the prime minister to ensure the spectrum was not given away at lower prices.

"The prime minister has not done his job by not taking note of the letter. Is that not part of his responsibility," Dasgupta asked.

Chandrasekhar, in his deposition before the Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) Thursday, maintained that he had favoured Rs.35,000 crore ($6.5 billion) as entry fee for spectrum allocation in November 2007, instead of the Rs.1,561 crore ($310 million) that was fixed in January 2008.

He also claimed that he wrote the note on the pricing to the prime minister in December 2007 on being asked to provide an assessment on the implications of the pricing, but did not receive any response from the Prime Minister's Office to his letter.

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