India Court Orders CBI To Probe Spectrum Allocations Since 2001, Check Loss To Government

First Published Thursday, 16th December 2010 05:57 am - © 2010 Dow Jones


NEW DELHI -(Dow Jones)- India's top court Thursday directed the Central Bureau of Investigation to probe all mobile phone spectrum allocations since 2001, and asked it to also look at how much money the government may have lost because of alleged irregularities in the handing out of the licenses.

The Supreme Court asked the CBI, the country's top federal investigating agency, to submit the probe report on Feb. 10, 2011.

The CBI has till now focused its investigations mainly on the allotment of licenses and bandwidth in 2008.

The court ordered also that revenue watchdog the Enforcement Directorate, which is investigating any illegal fund transfers connected to the issue, to put in its report on the same date.

India's telecom industry has been mired in allegations of corruption and favoritism after a government audit body found that the telecom department in 2008 sold bandwidth at a price set in 2001, when the number of mobile phone users was much smaller.

The decision, the audit body said, caused a potential revenue loss of $38.9 billion to the government.

-By Rakesh Sharma, Dow Jones Newswires; +91-9967586928; romit.guha@dowjones.com

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