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DoT asks CAG to furnish proof and submit documents
October, 13th 2010

THE Department of Telecom (DoT) has asked the national auditor to furnish proof and submit documents relating to its observations that mobile licences were awarded to several new entrants in 2008 despite these companies failing to meet the eligibility criteria for obtaining a mobile permit.

The department has told the Comptroller & Auditor General of India (CAG), which is probing the allocation of mobile permits in 2008, that it will issue show-cause notices to those companies which have allegedly furnished false and altered documents in their applications for telecom licence, after studying the information furnished by the national watchdog.

As per internal government documents reviewed by ET, the telecom ministry has also not ruled out the possibility of termination of mobile permits to companies such as Loop, Uninor, S Tel, Allianz Infratech and Videocon, if the CAG were to furnish proof that these firms failed to fulfil their eligibility requirements and have submitted false documents.

On being pointed out, the department has asked for documents available with audit for further processing the case and to issue a show-cause notice for termination of the licences awarded to them. Termination of licence would also result in encashment of ` 2,625 crore on account of financial bank guarantee and performance bank guarantee, said a CAG internal note, seen by ET.

Ironically, DoT response comes after the national auditor had pointed to serious lapses by the department in awarding mobile permits. As reported by ET earlier this week, the audit watchdog had sought an explanation from DoT for giving a pan-India mobile permit to the Essar Group-owned Loop Telecom . The auditor said the company was not eligible for mobile permits and also slammed DoT for failing to verify the facts and figures submitted by the company.

Prior to this, the national auditor had also asked the telecom department to explain why it overlooked several licence conditions while awarding pan-India mobile permits to realty firm Unitech , which in turn ceded majority control to Norways Telenor.

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