India spectrum sale probes snowball

Indian investigators and the government have broadened their probes into the nation's 2G spectrum scandal to cover licenses issued since 2001.
 
New telecom minister Kapil Sibal yesterday announced he will appoint a former Supreme Court judge to investigate all allocations since the 2001 2G allotment conducted by the then-governing BJP party, the Economic Times said.
 
The BJP has been criticized for shifting to a revenue-sharing regime rather than an annual license fee, and making other regulatory changes that may have favored particular telecom companies, Telegraph India said.
 
Indian state auditors estimate the use of 2001 prices in a 2008 allocation of 2G spectrum could have cost the government 1.76 trillion Rupees (€29.4 billion) in lost income.
 
The figure could quickly rise if the judge finds problems in other allocations between 2001 and 2008 during an examination into the consistency and transparency of government procedures. The results of his investigation are due in four weeks.
 
India’s Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) will extend its own probe into the sales back to 2001, on the advice of India’s Supreme Court.
The bureau on Wednesday raided the home of former telecoms minister Andimuthu Raja as part of the investigation, seizing diaries that appear to detail bribes to politicians.
 
Raja - who is accused of ignoring advice to conduct the 2008 spectrum allocation by auction - was forced to resign last month.

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