2G spectrum scam : Daddy’s got a sweet tooth
The governments strategy has been pretty consistent all along.
“Nobody stopped us from perpetrating what you people are now calling as the ‘scam of the century’.”
Shorn of technicalities the scam can be summarized as below :
Before Picture :
1. Country (including minorities, dalits, tribals) had 4.4 Mhz of spectrum
After Picture :
1. Country has 0 Mhz of spectrum
2. Country got 10,000 Cr extra cash in pocket
3. Telenor, Docomo, Etisalat, Bahrain Telecom – the companies offering services – have 40,000 Cr less
4. Dozens of Indians gatecrash Forbes India Rich list ( a few even make it to the Billionaires list)
We can debate all we want about investment vs buyout, presumptive vs substantive loss, paper money vs cash money. Even ignoring the 3G spectrum price discovery, simply based on what foreign companies have paid to Indian real estate middlemen – the value of the loss is 60,000 Cr.
All the arguments about low cost spectrum enabling low cost services and rural coverage is bogus. From the service providers point of view, they paid 6000 – 10,000 Cr. Period. They could care less about what their Indian partners paid. Thats right, Etisalat who is giving you services does not care if Swan got the waves for free. For them, they paid 6-7,000 Cr and that investment would determine the pricing of their service.
Absence of bonafides is the new normal
Which brings us to this : Nobody stopped us from doing what we did
Mr Kapil Sibal who is the new Telecom Minister has decided to pursue the “Somebody stop me” line of defence. This is not only deplorable but insulting to the intelligence of those who have been following this scam. Separatists will use these as yet another reason not to put up with the shenanigans of the state.
The premise :
1. We (the UPA & ally DMK) will operate in a malafide manner unless someone stops us.
2. If we get caught – we are guiltless because no body stopped us. You should be asking why the systems that ought to have stopped us failed. We just did what we do best.
All the back and forth by the government pinning saying, “But TRAI didnt say anything” / “PMO didnt say anything” squares off perfectly with the “somebody stop me” strategy.
The absurdity of this line is :
1. TRAI is not a superior power to the government. If the government wanted to it can ask TRAI to explain. Change its malicious positions. As it is doing now.
2. Besides, the TRAI has repeatedly refuted standing behind the 2001 price level.
From the CAG :
The TRAI, in its report, observed that the entry fee, as it existed in 2001, was not a realistic price for obtaining a licence in the changed situation considering the dynamism and growth of telecom sector… It also observed that the value of spectrum was not correctly reflected in the extant pricing model, and recommended again for de-linking of spectrum from licence.”
But, if you push this line of offense you are falling into their trap. They will trap you in technicalities and word play. This is what Sibal is doing. The intent will be relegated to the corner and something absurd like a technicality or misinterpretation or word play will take centre stage.
Dont believe me.
Try arguing with the following statement.
“But that report was never discussed by us because GoM and Finance Ministry were not saying they ought to be discussed in reply to our Nov 31 letter to them”.
Somebody stop me video from The Mask