2G scam: Former TRAI chairman quizzed by JPC

New Delhi: A former chairman of TRAI on Friday told the JPC probing the 2G spectrum scam that the then NDA government did not seek the opinion of the telecom regulator on the issue of allocating "excess spectrum" to some private companies in 2002.

M S Verma, who headed Telecom Regulatory Authority of India between March, 2000 and March 2003 appeared before the JPC as a witness for the second consecutive day.

When some members asked him whether the issue of "excess allocation" of spectrum by the then government in 2002 was referred to TRAI, "Verma replied in a negative…he said the matter was not referred to TRAI," JPC chairman P C Chacko told reporters.

Chacko explained that upto 10 MHz of "excess spectrum, not additional spectrum" was allocated to some companies.

"Some members asked him how such a decision was taken and whether TRAI`s opinion was sought," he said.

While TRAI has powers to make suo motu recommendations to government, the regulator did not opt for the option then.

Chacko said in fact during Verma`s three-year tenure, TRAI did not make any suo motu recommendations to the government on any issue.

In reply to a question, the JPC chairman said while TRAI recommendations are not binding on the government, "such matters are expected to be referred (to TRAI)… efficient management of available spectrum comes under the power of TRAI".