The spectacular 2G scam worth 1.76 Lakh Crores (US$ 39Bn) which was hereto limited to government officials, has spilled on to the private sector.
India’s Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) registered a case against Bharti Airtel & Vodafone along-with former government officials in connection with alleged irregularities in the allocation of additional 2G spectrum in January 2002.
While Airtel said it has “always maintained the highest standard of corporate governance and regulatory compliance”, Vodafone confirmed in a statement that CBI officials had visited the company’s offices in Mumbai “seeking information related to the spectrum allocation to operators during 2001-02.”
The CBI has registered a Preliminary Enquiry to look into the allocation of spectrum under Pramod Mahajan’s tenure to certain companies beyond the prescribed limit on a first-cum-first-serve basis as against the bidding process for 3G which fetched a cool Rs. 67,719 Crore!. The FIR states that Department of Telecom had increased the base spectrum for telecom companies from 4.4 MHz to 6.2 MHz during Mahajan’s tenure from 2001 to 2003 and also allocated extra spectrum on subscriber-based criteria.