Fresh telecom graft in India
- Published: 22/12/2012 at 03:15 PM
- Online news:
NEW DELHI: India’s former secretary of the Department of Telecom and three telecommunications companies have been charged over alleged irregularities in the awarding of 2G mobile spectrum licences.
The Central Bureau of Investigation, which deals with corruption, economic and special crimes, found the official and the companies, which are based in Delhi and Mumbai, deprived the treasury of 8.6 billion rupees (IS$156 million) through the sale of the airwaves at below-prescribed rates.
None of the accused were named in a statement from the CBI on Saturday.
The additional spectrum allotted to the operators, from 6.2 to 10 Megahertz, should have cost them 2% of their adjusted gross revenue, according to the statement. Instead, the operators were charged 1%, the CBI said.
The then secretary "had abused his official position as a public servant and allegedly showed undue favour", the CBI said.
India raised less than 25% of its target of 400 billion rupees from an auction of reclaimed 2G airwaves that ended last month.
The spectrum was auctioned after the Supreme Court earlier this year cancelled 122 licences awarded in 2008, saying their original allocation had been corrupted by "money power" and some buyers' "ability to manipulate the system".
Corruption and incompetence associated with the 2008 mobile spectrum auctions resulted in losses to the state of about $32 billion, the high court estimated.
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