Indian minister quits over 2G scandal

Dylan Bushell-Embling
15 Nov 2010
00:00
India's telecom minister resigned on Sunday, amid scrutiny over his role in an alleged spectrum allocation scam that is claimed to have cost the government $38 billion.
Minister A. Raja handed his resignation to prime minister Manmohan Singh, telling reporters that he had done so on the advice of Singh and Tamil Nadu party leader M. Karunanidhi.
Raja is alleged to have issued 2G licenses in January 2008 at prices well below market value. But he said he was confident the inquiries into the process would clear his name.
In a statement mailed to local media, Karunanidhi said that while Raja had followed the spectrum allocation procedures in place since 1999, some opposition party members were planning to “create a situation of bringing everything to a standstill” by disrupting parliament until Raja was ousted.
Investigations have allegedly uncovered documents suggesting that senior DoT officials collaborated with some private companies to ensure they received spectrum licenses.
The licenses had also been awarded on a first-come-first-serve basis, at prices set in 2001, and the process had been set up to limit the number of applicants. But regulator Trai had recommended the spectrum be allocated though an open auction process.

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