DoT extends tenure for Patil committee

New Delhi: The telecom ministry on Wednesday extended till January 31 the tenure of the one-man committee under retired Supreme Court judge Justice Shivraj V Patil which is looking into the appropriateness of procedures followed in issuance of licences during 2001-2009.

DoT earlier on December 13 last year notified the terms of reference of the one-man committee whose tenure expired today, the government said in a statement. The committee was to report to Telecom Minister Kapil in a months time.

The government had announced setting up of a one-man panel to look into the spectrum allocation procedures and policies during 2001-2009, a period that includes the NDA regime.

Sibal had said that any action against erring telecom companeis would be taken after this committee submitted its report.

The government auditor CAG had alleged that several operators had suppressed information while applying for licences in 2007 to bag licences and 2G spectrum from former telecom minister A Raja.

The CAG has quantified revenue loss at a whopping presumptive Rs 1.76 lakh crore due to the 2G spectrum scam.

The inquiry by the one-man committee was likely to be completed within four weeks so that the government knows the entire gamut of procedures adopted for grant of spectrum not only to 122 licencees (by former Telecom Minister A Raja in 2008) but also before that, both in the category of start-up and additional spectrum.

Once the government has the inquiry findings with it, a decision would be taken on how to move forward.

During 2001-04, the BJP-led NDA government was at the Centre. Former telecom minister A Raja had been saying that he only followed the policies of his predecessors. Raja was forced to resign last month in the wake of CAG report that put the revenue loss to the exchequer at Rs 1.76 lakh crore for distributing licences in 2008 at 2001 prices.