If A. Raja the Telecom Minister is the one who has been behind the bars because of being made the “poster boy” of the 2G scam, then P. Chidambaram and Dr. Singh were the backbone of the entire episode.
However, Vahanvati is the real deal-sealer for the corrupt trio of Raja-Chidambaram-Singh.
As the special report by Tehelka suggests, the three main charges in the case are:
- That Raja arbitrarily advanced the cut-off date from 1 October 2007 to 25 September 2007 and thus reduced the number of eligible applicants and rigged the priority list in favour of Swan and Unitech.
- That he subverted the first-come first-served (FCFS) policy and waywardly redefined it to ensure that Swan and Unitech got 2G licences.
- That he didn’t auction the 2G spectrum or adopt some other market-determined methodology to determine its real valuation and instead benchmarked it to a rate discovered in 2001, when the telecom sector was at a nascent stage.
It is Vahanvati’s role as India’s Solicitor General, where,
he willing became a party to the A. Raja machinations, and by passed the Law and Order Minister HR Bhardwaj.
To bypass the Law Minister and get to SG Vahanvati to use him as a bulwark, A Raja devised a unique “excuse” and noted that Solicitor General’s opinion be sought as “he is appearing before the TDSAT and High Court, Delhi”
To which, Vahanvati gladly endorsed.
I have seen the notes. The issue regarding new LoIs are not before any court. What is proposed is fair and reasonable. The press release makes for transperancy. This seems to be in order
Why is it out of order?
Because Manju Madhavan, Member, Finance (a senior DOT official) had stated on the same file about the inappropriate entry fee and rates. And that they be revised.
“We are in receipt of a communication dated 22.11.2007 from the Department of Economic Affairs wherein they have expressed concern that we are offering the rates obtained in 2001 as entry fee even in 2007, without any indexation/current valuation… Since the rates have not been revised and the Finance Secretary has raised the issue, I’m of the view that this issue should be examined in depth before any further steps are taken.”
This concern from Manju Madhavan was rubbished by A. Raja by in turn accusing the DOT official of being a vested interest.
It is this level of gross violation of norms that Vahanvati endorsed – without consulting or informing the Law Minister Bhardwaj.
But in the entire episode, where Chidambaram is in the dock, A Raja got jailed and every one is pointing to Dr. Singh’s “negligence borne of connivance” – somehow, Solicitor General Goolam Vahanvati’s role has remained overlooked!