The Congress on Thursday accused the Modi government of hushing up a Rs 45,000 crore telecom scam to help “crony capitalists.”
It said despite a Comptroller & Auditor General report exposing revenue losses to the government due to half a dozen telecom companies underreporting revenue, the telecom ministry is delaying recovery of the money by going for a reevaluation of Comptroller Auditor General’s (CAG) findings.
While addressing a press conference, AICC spokesman Randeep Surjewala said, “The telecom scam of approximately Rs 45,000 crore is being buried under the carpet by Modi sarkar. This is a clear cut case of loss to public exchequer verified by CAG, with the sole aim of helping friendly crony capitalists.”
He alleged that the Centre was bailing out the six telecom firms mentioned in the CAG report: Bharti Airtel, Vodafone, Reliance Communications, Idea Cellular, Tata Teleservices and Aircel India. The CAG had initiated an audit of these six telcos for the period between 2006-07 and 2009-10 on the instructions of the Congress-led UPA government in 2011.
“It is a clear methodology of Modi government to inordinately delay the process of recovery for years, if not writing it off entirely. Also, it reflects the apparent malintent of the government to dilute the figures put forth by CAG,” he added
In its report this year, CAG found Bharti Airtel, Vodafone India, Idea Cellular, Reliance Communications, Tata Teleservices and Aircel collectively understated gross revenue amounting to Rs 46,045.75 crore between 2006-07 and 2009-10, causing a loss of Rs 12,488.93 crore to the national exchequer.
BJP has refuted all the charges. Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, who was telecom minister before Tuesday’s Cabinet reshuffle, said the scam took place between 2006 and 2010, when the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government was in power. “The entire allegation of the Congress party is utterly bogus…According to CAG [Comptroller and Auditor General] reports, some telecom companies underreported their revenues [during the UPA’s term],” he said, adding that the Public Accounts Committee was looking into the reports on the matter.
“The entire allegation of the Congress party is utterly bogus…According to CAG reports, some telecom companies underreported their revenues,” he said.