CBI questions Arun Shourie in 2G Spectrum scam

Friday, February 25, 2011

NEW DELHI - The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) today questioned former Telecom Minister Arun Shourie as part of its ongoing 2G Spectrum scam probe to find out possible criminal aspects and irregularities in the telecom policy since 2001.

Shourie appeared before the CBI to explain his role in awarding licenses on the ‘first come first serve’ basis and other crucial policy decisions taken during his term.

Shourie had held the telecom portfolio between January 2003 and May 2004 during the NDA regime.

Earlier this month, Shourie had been approached by the CBI, asking him to appear before it in connection with the Preliminary Enquiry (PE) registered by the agency following the Supreme Court’s direction.

Officials said that the PE was registered against “unknown persons” with an aim to ascertain whether the “first-come-first-serve basis” provision passed by the then Cabinet led by Atal Bihari Vajpayee was followed or not.

Last year the Supreme Court had directed the agency to widen the scope of its investigation to cover the grant of licenses by both the NDA and the UPA regimes between 2001-2007 and submit a report.

Shourie is expected to explain his role in awarding licenses to operators on the first come-first-serve basis and other important telecom policy decisions taken during his term.

According to the CBI, nearly 50 licenses were given on the first-come-first-serve basis and Bharti, Vodafone and Idea were among the beneficiaries of the policy.

The CBI will look into the documents of the companies who have been awarded the contracts as part of the investigation and is likely to go over the minutes of the meetings held by successive telecom ministers, which include the late Pramod Mahajan, Arun Shourie and DMK’s Dayanidhi Maran. (ANI)

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