WHAT IS SPECTRUM SCAM?
2G licenses issued to private telecom players at throwaway prices in 2008
CAG: Spectrum scam has cost the government Rs. 1.76 lakh crore
CAG: Rules and procedures flouted while issuing licenses
WHAT ARE THE CHARGES ON FORMER TELECOM MINISTER A RAJA?
CHEAP TELECOM LICENSES
Entry fee for spectrum licenses in 2008 pegged at 2001 prices
Mobile subscriber base had shot up to 350 million in 2008 from 4 million in 2001
NO PROCEDURES FOLLOWED
Rules changed after the game had begun
Cut-off date for applications advanced by a week
Licenses issued on a first-come-first-served basis
No proper auction process followed, no bids invited
Raja ignored advice of TRAI, Law Ministry, Finance Ministry
TRAI had recommended auctioning of spectrum at market rates
FAVOURITISM, CORPORATES ENCASH PREMIUM
Unitech, Swan Telecom got licenses without any prior telecom experience
Swan Telecom given license even though it did not meet eligibility criteria
Swan got license for Rs. 1537 crore, sold 45% stake to Etisalat for Rs. 4200 crore
Unitech Wireless got license for Rs. 1661 crore, sold 60% stake for Rs. 6200 crore
All nine companies paid DoT only Rs. 10,772 crore for 2G licences
OTHERS IN THE NET
DMK chief M Karunanidhi’s daughter and MP Kanimozhi who has been named by the CBI as a co- conspirator with A Raja
Shahid Balwa, the promoter of Swan Telecom, who the CBI believes had a central role in the 2G spectrum scam. He has been accused of colluding with former Telecom Minister A Raja by allegedly channelising kickbacks Raja got from the spectrum sale into the real estate
Unitech chief Sanjay Chandra and DB Realty founder Vinod Goenka who have been chargesheeted for cheating and conspiracy
Three senior executives of Anil Ambani controlled ADAG, Gautam Doshi, Hari Nair and Surendra Pipara. All these are currently lodged in Tihar Jail
Former telecom secretary Sidharth Behura, who allegedly shut counters to physically block other telecom companies, faces the same charges as Raja. And so does Raja’s Personal Secretary RK Chandolia
THE ROLE OF KALAIGNAR TV
One of the companies named by the CBI in the 2G scam – Swan Telecom – allegedly sent Mr Raja a Rs. 214-crore kickback that was routed through a maze of companies but rested finally with Kalaignar TV channel in Chennai that is owned mainly by Kanimozhi and Dayalu Ammal. Together, they have 80% stake in the company. Sharad Kumar, the Managing Director of Kalaignar TV, owns the balance and has also been accused of conspiring with Mr Raja.
New Delhi: Following is the chronology of events in the 2G spectrum scam case in which DMK MP Kanimozhi and four others were granted bail on Monday.
May, 2007: DMK leader A Raja takes over as Telecom Minister.
August, 2007: The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) initiates process of allotment of 2G spectrum for telecom along with Universal Access Service (UAS) Licences.
November 2, 2007: The Prime Minister writes to Raja directing him to ensure allotment of 2G spectrum in a fair and transparent manner and to ensure that licence fee was properly revised. Raja writes back to the Prime Minister rejecting many of his recommendations.
2009: Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) directs CBI to investigate the irregularities in allocation of 2G spectrum.
October 21, 2009: CBI registers a case and files an FIR against “unknown officers” of DoT and unknown private persons/companies under various provisions of IPC and Prevention of Corruption Act.
May 6, 2010: Telephonic conversation between Raja and corporate lobbyist Niira Radia made public by the media.
September 13, 2010: Supreme Court asks government and A Raja to reply within 10 days to three petitions filed by an NGO and others alleging there was a Rs. 70,000 crore scam in the grant of telecom licences in 2008.
November 10, 2010: The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) submits report on 2G spectrum to government stating loss of Rs. 1.76 lakh crore to exchequer.
November 14, 2010: Raja resigns as Telecom Minister.
November 25, 2010: Supreme Court ticks off CBI for not questioning Raja.
December 1, 2010: Supreme Court directs original tapes containing conversation between corporate lobbyist Niira Radia and others be handed over to it.
December 2, 2010: Government places recorded tapes in the Supreme Court.
December 8, 2010: Supreme Court asks Centre to consider setting up of a special court to try 2G spectrum scam case.
February 2, 2011: A Raja, former Telecom Secretary Siddartha Behura and Raja’s former Personal Secretary R K Chandolia arrested, remanded to CBI custody next day.
February 8, 2011: Shahid Usman Balwa, promoter of Swan Telecom, arrested by CBI.
February 17, 2011: Raja sent to Tihar Jail under judicial custody.
February 18, 2011: Balwa sent to judicial custody.
March 14, 2011: The Delhi High Court sets up special court to deal exclusively with 2G cases.
March 29, 2011: Shahid Balwa’s brother Asif and Kusegaon realties’ executive Rajeev Agarwal arrested.
April 2, 2011: CBI files its first chargesheet.
April 25, 2011: CBI files second chargesheet and court issues summons to DMK chief M Karunanidhi’s daughter Kanimozhi, Managing Director of Kalaignar TV Sharad Kumar (Kanimozhi and her mother have major stakes in the channel) and Cineyug Films’ director Karim Morani taking congizance of the chargesheet.
May 6, 2011: Kanimozhi and Sharad Kumar file bail plea while Karim Morani seeks exemption from appearance.
May 20, 2011: Court rejects bail pleas of Kanimozhi and Sharad Kumar, and orders their forthwith arrest.
June 20, 2011: Supreme Court rejects Kanimozhi’s bail plea.
July 25, 2011: Arguments on charges begin.
October 9, 2011: CBI files FIR against another DMK leader and former telecom minister Dayanidhi Maran and his brother.
October 22, 2011: Court put on trial all 17 accused.
November 3, 2011: Trial court rejects bail plea of Kanimozhi and seven others.
November 5, 2011: Kanimozhi and others moves bail in Delhi High Court.
November 23, 2011: Supreme Court grants bail to five telecom executives – Unitech Wireless’ former MD Sanjay Chandra, Swan Telecom’s Director Vinod Goenka and Reliance Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group’s executives Hari Nair, Gautam Doshi and Surendra Pipara. They were charged with criminal conspiracy cause criminal breach of trust by a public servant.
November 28, 2011: Delhi High Court grants bail to Kanimozhi, Sharad Kumar, Karim Morani, Asif Balwa and Rajeev Agarwal; reserves bail plea of Siddharth Behura.