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2G scam: Behura points finger at RBI governor Subbarao

Former telecom secretary Siddhartha Behura accuses RBI Governor D. Subbarao, who was then a finance secretary of not revising spectrum licence fees.

Rohan Venkataramakrishnan | July 28, 2011 | Updated 09:07 IST

RBI Governor D. Subbarao is the latest to join the long list of top government functionaries who have been hauled into the 2G spectrum scam . On Wednesday, incarcerated former telecom secretary Siddhartha Behura accused him - in his capacity as the then finance secretary - of not revising spectrum licence fees. Behura himself was simply following the established policy, his counsel contended.

"If the policy is defended by the people who decided it, how can a civil servant whose job is to implement it be prosecuted?" senior advocate Aman Lekhi, representing Behura, said beginning his arguments against the framing of charges. "Subbarao had decided against revising the entry fee of Rs 1,659 crore for 2G licences and if he is not an accused in this case, (Behura) too should not have been put on trial," the counsel stated.

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As the finance secretary, Subbarao had openly supported the option of not raising entry fee beyond the price set in 2003, according to Lekhi. The CBI has alleged that this was part of the reason why the state exchequer lost Rs 30,000 crore in the spectrum allocation process.

Aman Lekhi added that the issue was brought up in a meeting on December 4, 2007, which was also attended by then finance minister P. Chidambaram as well as other officials. Subbarao then wrote a letter, saying that the matter of entry fee had been settled. This was nearly a month before Behura even joined the telecom ministry on January 1, 2008.

"The people who were involved in formulating the policy and the person who defended the policy have been made witnesses. And I have been made an accused, brought in, denied bail and kept in jail," Lekhi said on behalf of Behura.

He added that once the policy was in place, he simply followed the established procedure and orders of his superiors, as expected of a civil servant. "This is nothing but an arbitrary selection of people as accused and witnesses. The CBI has to do a lot of explanation," Lekhi said.

Courtesy: Mail Today 

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