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Raja may be booked in BSNL's WiMax deal

PTI     August 26, 2011
In a move that could portend fresh trouble for former Telecom Minister A Raja , the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has registered a Preliminary Enquiry (PE) to probe the alleged bungling in the allocation of franchisees of WiMax services by state-run operator Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL).

CBI sources said the PE was registered against unknown officials of the Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited and unknown employees of an international firm.

It is alleged that the company was given BSNL's WiMax franchisee in six circles despite failing to meet laid down specifications.

Sources said Raja is alleged to have intervened in the matter after which BSNL decided to give the WiMax to the company with the state-run telecom company getting less than 30 per cent of the revenue as Startnet would get 20 Mhz of spectrum.

They said although five companies had applied for the franschisee, this allegedly favoured company bagged the deal.

The DoT committee, headed by Telecom Commission Member (Finance), in its report said the terms offered by the franchisees were "not in the financial interest of BSNL" and that the deals "need to be reviewed".

According to official sources, the report has also dealt with the role of top BSNL officials in formulating the deals.

WiMax is one of the technologies that offer wireless broadband services.

In January 2008, BSNL had selected Soma Networks for WiMax service in Gujarat, Maharashtra, Goa and Andhra Pradesh.

In early 2010, four firms - Teracom, Take Solutions, Adishwar India and Ampoules - were selected by BSNL through a bidding process for offering WiMax services in 16 circles.

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