In his report, Patil has named officials who are guilty in the telecom department. Speaking to rediff.com's Vicky Nanjappa, Patil said that he hoped the mess would be cleared up and added that he hoped that his recommendations would be considered by the government.
Has it been a tough couple of months with this new role that you had been asked to take up?
Yes it has been pretty tough. The job was a tedious one and I have worked hard to study the matter and make a report.
Are you satisfied with the manner in which the report has shaped up?
Yes I am. I have completed the work that had been assigned to me. Now it is up to the government to study it and act upon it (the report).
Does your report deal with names of guilty persons only?
Not exactly. It does name a couple of persons in the telecom department who are guilty and have flouted norms. Apart from this I have also made a lot of suggestions which if implemented will ensure that a better system is in place.
What is the loss that you have estimated in your report which has been incurred as a result of this scam?
You should understand that I did not have to get into this aspect. The terms and references of this commission were clear that I did not need to get into that aspect at all. I had to adjudicate the appropriateness of the current norms and also the policy issues and procedures that had been adopted to allocate spectrum to telecom operators since the year 2001.
Have you found any lapses in the allocation process since 2001?
Yes I have found some lapses and all that forms part of my report.
Would you like to tell us about the lapses?
It will not be right on my part to reveal the lapses at the moment. I was asked specifically to probe these lapses and submit a report to the government and I have done that in the time given to me. It is now up to the government to study that report and act upon it.
What about the big players such as Raja and the rest? Does your report name all of them?
It would not be appropriate to make any comments on this. However the larger issues of this scam were not before me since it did not form part of the terms of reference. There are other committees and agencies probing those aspects. I have just stuck to my job and not deviated from it. The main point of my terms and references involved the lapses which occurred within the department.
Was there any kind of pressure on you?
Not all all. I was allowed to work with independence and there was no pressure of any sort.
Have you found any telecom company guilty during your probe?
It will not be right for me to comment on that. I have found some persons guilty and I have already said that. But the larger picture will be out in a couple of days and it is better for us to expect the government itself to come out with all those aspects.
Is this commission just a eye wash since the larger issues appear to be more important and your report deals only with the small players?
No how can you say that. Each aspect in this case is important and my part of the inquiry does have bearing. The government was very serious about what it needed when it appointed me to do this job. It is not just an eyewash.
Was four weeks enough to complete the probe?
Yes it was enough. I was not expected to call for records and objections and hence the process was not lengthy. There are issues already before the Comptroller and Auditor General, the Public Accounts Committee and also the Supreme Court of India. Each one is doing its job or performing its role. Hence mine was a limited brief and so I feel that four weeks was a good enough period.
My job was restricted to find out whether the procedures have been followed or not. Moreover it was always my endevour to complete the job early since it is a very important matter.
Normally reports by commissions are never taken seriously by the government. What would you do if your report too meets with the same fate?
There is nothing I can do about it. However I have reasonable expectation that the government will act upon the report for sure. As I said earlier the government set up this commission with a lot of seriousness and expectations and hence I have no reason to believe that they will not act upon it.