Friday, November 12, 2010

Dr. JP demands reallocation of 2-G spectrum licenses

Lok Satta Party President Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan today demanded that the Government of India cancel all the 2-G spectrum licenses Telecom Minister A. M. Raja capriciously granted, and their reallocation through international competitive bidding or allocation to the public sector Bharat Sanchar Nigam.

Addressing a media conference, Dr. JP said that resignation by Mr. Raja or his removal from the Cabinet by the Prime Minister alone would not be enough to meet the ends of justice.

Dr. JP said that there was more than adequate circumstantial evidence to nail Mr. Raja of indulging in corrupt practices. Mr. Raja arbitrarily changed the due date for submission of applications for licenses, followed a first-come first served policy, ignored the phenomenal spurt in mobile telephony in sticking to the old rates, and ignored the advice tendered by TRAI, the Law Ministry and the Prime Minister. The fact that companies with no track record in telecom sprang up overnight, cornered the licenses and minted tons of money without any value addition by selling them to others within a few weeks fortified the case against Mr. Raja.

Dr. JP suggested that the Government of India enact a law to prevent such instances of collusive corruption in future. The law should stipulate that a contract with any entity stands annulled automatically if any evidence of collusion between Government functionaries and beneficiaries comes to the fore. Such a law would inhibit corporate firms from indulging in collusion since they faced the prospect of losing all the benefits they would have cornered.

Dr. JP said that courts should be enabled to punish the guilty with exemplary penalties if the Government is made to incur unwarranted expenditure, or forgo legitimate revenue or if the environment suffers any damage because of corporate firms’ acts of commission and omission. The penalty could be three to five times the loss incurred.

Dr. JP said that corruption had become so ubiquitous in the grant of licenses and contracts, and lease of precious and finite resources like spectrum and minerals that the private sector was flourishing at the cost of the public exchequer and the people at large.

Dr. JP reiterated his party’s demand for the constitution of institutions at the national and State levels to go into cases of corruption against elected representatives and officials, constitution of an independent anti corruption commission and prosecution, of cases by members drawn from the judiciary. Swift and sure punishment of the guilty and confiscation of their ill-gotten wealth alone would help mitigate, if not eradicate, corruption, he added.

Replying to a question, Dr. JP said Chief Minister K. Rosaiah had set a bad precedent by taking part in a sit-in demonstration against RSS leader Sudarshen’s comments against Mrs. Sonia Gandhi. Mr. Sudarshan was no longer the RSS head and the RSS itself was distancing itself from the remarks.

When informed that Mr. Rosaiah took part in the sit-in in an area covered by prohibitory orders, Dr. JP said that by not arresting the Chief Minister and others for violating law, the police lost a golden opportunity to demonstrate that all are equal in the eyes of law.

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