Manmohan Singh
Prime Minister Manmohan SinghReuters

Former Cabinet Secretary KM Chandrashekhar dragged Prime Minister Manmohan Singh into 2G spectrum mess of 2008 while speaking before a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) on Thursday.

Chandrashekhar disclosed that Singh overlooked his recommendation to fix an entry fee of ₹36,000 crore for the spectrum allocation, hinting that the scam could have been prevented if the PM had acted otherwise.

According to reports, Chandrashekhar said that he submitted a note recommending a high revision of the existing price of ₹1,651 crore for pan-India spectrum, which had been in place since 2001, on the account of growing teledensity, inflation and a rapidly developing market. He drafted the note following an inquiry sought by the PM over the financial outcomes in the carrying out the spectrum sale.   

Chandrashekhar reportedly stated that a note dated Dec 4, 2007, recommended the financial guidelines in holding the 2G spectrum allocation. Since the note was submitted five weeks before the 2G scam surfaced, many media reports suggested that the government could have prevented the scam from taking place.

"The timing of this note reveals that had the Prime Minister acted upon Mr. Chandrashekhar's advice, the government could have easily prevented the scam, since this note was dated 5 weeks before the scam took place on January 10, 2008," reported the Hindu.

If the government had worked upon the suggestions put forth by Chandrashekhar, it may have raised huge revenue from selling the natural air-waves by creating a fair game rules for all old and new players in the market, besides increasing the spectrum price that was set in 2001. The government generated about ₹10,000 crore but incurred huge losses to the state exchequer owing to the tainted and arbitrary allocation of the spectrums.

Former Telecom Minister A Raja, the alleged kingpin of the 2G scam, resorted to the arbitrary method and first-come-first served policy in a bid to favour some private companies. He is also being accused of receiving multi-crores of kickbacks in return for granting undue favours from private players.

Raja granted about 122 licences in a chronic violation of law to 11 companies, which were unable to meet the elementary eligibility, at throw way prices. According to the preliminary reports by the Comptroller Auditor General of India (CAG) on the loss occurred to the country, it estimated about ₹1.76 lakh crore losses had incurred.