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Ex-Cab Sec Says He Wanted 2G Licence Fee To Be Rs 35,000 Cr

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Former Cabinet Secretary K M Chandrasekhar on 18 October' 2012 said he had favoured the entry fee for 2G spectrum allocation to be Rs 35,000 crore, about 21 times the amount on which the allocation was made, so that the government could earn more revenue.
 
Deposing before the Joint Parliamentary Committee examining 2G spectrum scam, Chandrasekhar said he had recommended the amount in a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in 2007.
 
Chandrasekhar, who was the Cabinet Secretary between June 2007 to June 2011, said the Prime Minister had asked him to look into the issue of financial implications with regard to the recommendations of TRAI on allocation of 2G spectrum.
 
In his response on November 26, 2007, Chandrasekhar suggested that if entry fee or revenue sharing or spectrum fee are changed then it could bring more revenue to the government, sources said.
 
He also suggested that the entry fee, which was Rs 1658 crore, should be hiked to Rs 35000 crore, the sources said.
 
The former top bureaucrat said since the Department of Telecommunications was administrative ministry on the issue, it was upto it to take a decision based on existing policy.
 
At the same time, he insisted that the fee, on which the allocations were made, did not amount to any loss.
 
On the controversial March 25, 2011 note which suggested that the then Finance Minister P Chidambaram could have insisted on auction, Chandrasekhar told the JPC that the note was entirely an internal document of the Finance Ministry.
 
"It was not expected that there would be any inputs from the Cabinet Secretariat... I never asked for or saw the note prepared in the matter by the Ministry of Finance since I considered it be an internal note of that Ministry," he told the committee in a written submission.
 
When asked about the then Telecom Secretary D S Mathur informing him about his difference of opinion on this issue with the then Telecom Minister A Raja, Chandrasekhar said there is no record of the then Telecom Secretary having raised the issue with the Minister in the communication to the Cabinet Secretariat as well as to the Finance Ministry.
 
On the other hand, he said, the letter sent to the Cabinet Secretariat indicated an agreed stance on the issue within the Department of Telecommunications.

(PTI)