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Rs 506 cr loss during NDA tenure; BJP faces 2G heat

September 13, 2012 19:54 IST

It is the Bharatiya Janata Party's turn to face the heat in the 2G spectrum scam case.

Some of the associates of late Bharatiya Janata Party leader Pramod Mahajan are under the scanner of the income tax department and other security agencies. It is learnt that a very close associate of Mahajan had been summoned for questioning by the government agencies some time ago.

In the first indictment of the BJP in spectrum allotment, the Central Bureau of Investigation is all set to file a charge-sheet in the excess spectrum allocation case during Mahajan's tenure as telecom minister in the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance government.

According to the CBI, Mahajan's largesse to these companies caused an "undue pecuniary benefit" of Rs 506 crore to them.

Bharti Airtel and Vodafone India (earlier known as Hutchison Max & Sterling Cellular) may be charge-sheeted along with some key officials who were serving at the time when Mahajan was telecom minister in January 2002. 

The investigating agency has registered a case against then telecom secretary Shyamal Ghosh and has found that the senior officer, along with other DoT officials, had bypassed the wireless advisor and a technical committee at DoT on the issue of pricing and allocation of additional spectrum to telecom companies.

During the investigation, the CBI had also carried out raids at the offices of Bharti and Vodafone. The residences of various government officials were also searched.

"During the investigation, we recovered certain incriminating documents like technical reports and communication between the minister and his officials that indicate that the companies benefited," a CBI officer said.

The CBI is evaluating the possibility of naming the companies that have been investigated in this regard -- Bharti Airtel and Vodafone -- but this has not been finalised yet. The CBI has alleged that top officials of the telecom department conspired with the companies to grant them additional spectrum at throwaway prices.

A Correspondent In Delhi