The government launched a blistering attack, as expected, on the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) on Friday following the poor response to the 2G spectrum auction, saying that the auditor's scam loss figure of Rs 1.76 lakh crore has proved to be a "myth".
Blaming the country's top auditor for "sensationalising" the 2G scam loss figure and subsequently killing the "hen (the telecom sector) that laid golden eggs", Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal said that policies should be left best to the government.
He was addressing a joint press conference with Finance Minister P. Chidambaram and Information & Broadcasting minister Manish Tewari.
"Where are those Rs 1.76 lakh crore? You cannot extrapolate figures and sensationalise them. Sensationalism took over and the government was limited in its policy prescriptions, which has resulted in what we saw a few days ago," Sibal said.
"Government getting revenue cannot be the sole criteria. What happened in the 3G auction? The government got money but consumers have not benefited at all. Operators have not rolled out services because the nature and the kind of investment that ought to have gone into the sector has stopped and the sector is in debt," Sibal added.
The 3G auction, held in 2010, got Rs 67,700 crore as revenue.
Chidambaram said, "...In the popular imagination this was not the 2G scam rather the scam involved in Rs 1.76 lakh crore. That scam, it is now clear, was pure myth. That's the point he (Sibal) is trying to say."
As against the CAG's estimation of Rs 34,000-crore revenue, the Centre got bids worth Rs 9,407 crore.
The high base price of Rs 13,850 crore for 5 MHz of pan-India airwaves is being seen as the main reason for the auction failure.
BJP BLASTS GOVT