New Delhi: Former Department of Telecom Secretary Shyamal Ghosh and three companies - Bharti Airtel Ltd, Vodafone India Ltd and Hutchison Max & Sterling Cellular - have been charged by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in the allocation of additional spectrum case during the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) regime.
The CBI filed a chargesheet in a Delhi court on Friday pegging the loss to the exchequer at Rs 846 crore on spectrum issued during the NDA rule. The agency alleged in the chargesheet that the DoT had increased the base spectrum for telecom companies from 4.4 MHz to 6.2 MHz during former telecom minister Pramod Mahajan's tenure and also allocated extra spectrum on subscriber-based criteria.
It alleged that Mahajan had allotted addition spectrum to these companies in a hurried manner and in contravention with the then telecom policy. The accused have been chargesheeted under section 120-B (criminal conspiracy) of the IPC and various provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act relating to misconduct by public servant by accepting illegal gratification by abusing his official position.
"Investigation has revealed that Shyamal Ghosh, then chairman of Telecom Commission and Secretary DoT, in conspiracy with late Pramod Mahajan, then telecom minister and the accused beneficiary companies i.e Hutchison Max and Sterling Cellular and Bharti Airtel Ltd through their representatives, abused his official position as public person and showed undue favour which caused loss of Rs 846.44 crores to the government exchequer and corresponding undue gain to the aforesaid telecom companies," it said.
The agency said this included incidental gains to other telecom companies by charging additional one per cent of AGR instead of charging the required additional two per cent of AGR for allocation of additional spectrum from 6.2 MHz upto 10 MHz.".