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Posted on Nov 16, 08:00PM | IANS
The BJP and the Left parties Friday countered the government attack on the Comptroller and Auditor General after the 2G spectrum auction a day ago.
Both parties claimed that although only 22 of 122 licences have been allocated, and the government has already got more money than the allocations of January 2008 had fetched.
The Bharatiya Janata Party also blamed the government for trying to turn the blame on the CAG, while the Left called it a conspiracy between the government and corporates.
"Yesterday, only 22 licenses were auctioned... 100 licenses have not yet been auctioned. Yet, what they got auctioning these 22 licenses is more than what they got from 122 licences; how can they claim the CAG is wrong. Had the UPA not failed in managing the economy, you would have got Rs.1,76,000 crore," BJP spokesperson Prakash Javadekar said, adding that the auction vindicated the CAG's stand.
The auction of 22 2G spectrum licenses Thursday garnered Rs.9,400 crore (USD 1.74 billion), opposed to expectations of as much as Rs.40,000 crore (USD 7.4 billion).
The 2G licence allocation during former telecom minister A. Raja's tenure in office in January 2008 had fetched the government Rs.9,500 crore.
Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader Sitaram Yechury said: "For 122 licences, the government of India earned a little over Rs.9,000 crore. For 22 circles auctioned, the government has already earned more."
"The government and corporates both have vested interests in keeping prices low - this has been an act of connivance. For the government, it suits them well to say see there has been no corruption," he said.
The BJP, meanwhile, blamed "mismanagement of the economy" for the low prices.
"As we have said, this is the reason for the fiasco in the auction Thursday. It is because of failure of management of the economy by the UPA government, especially mismanagement of the telecom sector," Javadekar said.
The spectrum allocation occurred in January 2008; the CAG report was submitted in 2010. The Supreme Court ordered the cancellation of all 122 licences allocated in 2008 in February 2012.
Javadekar said the government was trying to attack the CAG.
"They are trying to clip the CAG's wings, trying to blame the CAG for their own failure. The CAG did not quote 2012 loss figures; they gave 2007 loss figures. If in 2007, it had been auctioned, you could have got so much money," Javadekar said.
"Government wants to hide its own failure, and attack the CAG to make it look like it is responsible for the mess, or shift blame to the Supreme Court or the TRAI. Because this government is neck deep in corruption, now they want all bodies to be crippled," he said.
Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari had Thursday questioned the CAG, seeking to know how he had arrived at the presumptive loss of Rs.1.76 lakh crore, on account of the allocation of 2G spectrum in 2008.
The CAG had estimated the loss in 2G spectrum allocation to the tune of Rs.1.76 lakh crore.