Union Communications and IT minister A. Raja was again in news when the supreme Court sent notice to him on a plea by some organizations through various public interest litigations (PIL). He is ready to face any scrutiny. He clarifies his position in an interview to Telecomtiger. Excerpts:
Q: Why the controversy on 2G spectrum allotment is not ending?
A: The controversy is politically motivated. I have explained the whole issue on several platforms including the Parliament. CBI is also investigating this case. If the issue still keeping on making headlines in the newspapers, then it clearly establishes vested interests.
Q: Is it because of the corporate war?
A: Yes, everyone knows that the entry of new players broke cartel of incumbent telecom operators. They were hurt. This may be because of corporate war between two set of players.
Q: The allegation against you is that you gave licences to the new players at first-come-first served basis at a throw away price of Rs 1,650 for pan India Licence?
A: I simply followed the prevalent policy when I issues licences to the new operators on first-come-first-served basis. My predecessors both in the UPA and the NDA regime had allotted new licences, until just a couple of months prior to my taking over as the minister, under the same policy and the same price.
The new telecom policy NTP (99) envisage that the prices of telecom services should be affordable. I followed the same policy and issued licences.
Q: Then why 3G spectrum was auctioned?
A: 3G services are for elite class. They are premium services.