Centre seeking to change auction terms to benefit telecoms: Congress

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New Delhi, Oct 4 (IANS) The Congress on Wednesday accused the government of seeking to unilaterally change the terms of spectrum auction to favour some telecom companies, saying it would cause a loss of Rs 23,821 crore to the exchequer.

The government’s move was in violation of the Supreme Court judgement in the 2G spectrum case, Congress leader Randeep Singh Surjewala told media persons here.

Surjewala said the BJP-led central government “cannot amend the terms of auction to grant benefits that are neither legally nor contractually permissible”.

He attacked Prime Minister Narendra Modi, saying that his remarks on zero tolerance for corruption and not tolerating corruption were proving to be “jumlas” (mere phrases).

The Congress leader alleged that the Cenre was “unilaterally and surreptitiously deferring recovery of spectrum auction amount by six years, thereby causing an interest loss of Rs 23,821 crore to the exchequer”.

Alleging that the spectrum sale in 2016 was a setback to the government, he said underwriters expected to raise Rs 80,000 crore and “there was a shortfall of Rs 14,281 crore vis-a-vis expectation”.

“Even the Budget for 2016-17 fiscal pegged the revenue target at Rs 98,995 crore. To this extent, the auction amount was less by Rs 33,206 crore.”

The Congress leader alleged that an inter-ministerial committee comprising representatives of telecom companies and Finance Ministry was constituted to “help telecom companies in a clandestine manner”.

He said the committee decided to alter “the auction terms by recommending the due payment within 16 years (19 years after counting the no-payment period of three years) instead of the original 10 years”.

“The Telecom Ministry and the Telecom Commission have both put their stamps of approval on this blatant abuse of authority and misuse of discretion to cause a loss to exchequer. It is now awaiting the seal of approval from the Union Cabinet,” he said.

–IANS

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