A day after the Supreme Court sought his response to a prayer for tracking the progress of the CBI probe into the alleged spectrum scam, Telecom Minister A Raja on Tuesday termed the move as "politically motivated."
"No doubt it is politically motivated," he told reporters on the sidelines of a FICCI event.
The Supreme Court had on Monday asked the Centre, Raja and CBI for a response in 10 days on a charge that the Centre was trying to put a lid on the investigation into the alleged Rs 70,000 crore scam in allocation of 2G telecom licence in 2008.
Stating that the investigation related to alleged criminal conspiracy between certain public servants and private persons for grant of Unified Access Service (telecom) licences, the petitioners had claimed that certain middlemen, including a PR consultant Niira Radia, were involved in this.
The petitioners alleged that the DoT, under Raja, had given away 2G spectrum at a throwaway price of Rs 1,651 crore for pan-India licences on a first-come-first-served basis in January 2008.
Raja contended that vested interests are behind the move and is a result of the corporate war in the telecom space.
The petition was filed by the Centre for Public Interest Litigation (CPIL), NGO Telecom Watchdog and an individual.
On the issue of CBI having filed an FIR against unknown officials of the Telecom Ministry, the apex court wanted to know how the CBI was not aware of who is the subject of the investigation that has been on for several months now.
On new operators wanting to return licenses, Raja said, "In the last operators' meeting, it was highlighted...bailout may be done. It will be discussed in the Telecom Commission."
Some operators have asked the government to return the Rs 1,651 crore they forked out for a pan-India 2G licence as many of them are yet to launch services in the country.
The new operators are finding it difficult to roll out services in view of huge investments required for setting up infrastructure. Only 2-3 new operators could start their services in some of the circles.
There are, however, no clear guidelines on this issue and the DoT may consider it in the coming few days.