Department of Telecom reiterates no wrong-doing from Reliance Jio

The Department of Telecom (DoT) has gone on record to categorically state that there was absolutely no wrong-doing on anyone’s part in granting licenses to Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Jio Infocomm Limited (RJIL). The government agency that forms a critical part of the Telecom Ministry has further gone on to state that there was no wrongdoing in allowing Mukesh Ambani-owned Reliance Jio Infocomm to convert its internet service provider (ISP) permit into a unified licence (UL) or in the auction of the broadband wireless spectrum in 2010, as alleged in a draft report of the national auditor.

CAG’s Allegations:

The Comptroller & Auditor General of India (CAG) has claimed in a new report that the Department of Telecom (DoT) ignored signs that pointed to evidence of rigging the 2010 auctions in which a company called Infotel Broadband Services Pvt. Ltd (IBSPL) – won pan-India broadband spectrum by paying 5,000 times its net worth of Rupees 2.5 crore.

The CAG highlighted that IBSPL, which submitted an earnest money deposit of Rs 252.50 crore and won a slot of 20 MHz of pan-India BWA spectrum, had through the “covert and overt assistance of third party/private bank” bid for Rupees 12,847.77 crore and then sold the company to a Reliance Industries unit on the day of completion of the auction.

It accused IBSPL and RIL, the parent of Jio, of collusion, and asked for a through probe into the whole matter, cancellation of the broadband spectrum allotted post the 2010 auctions and “exemplary punishment” on the colluding firms.

Reliance’s Response:

Reliance Jio’s parent company Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) completely rejected the CAG’s allegations. “We outrightly reject any suggestion whereby spectrum was acquired in any manner other than through a transparent bidding process duly supervised by Government of India and our company being in compliance of every single stipulation and rule,” it said. The company also clarified that it was not aware of any such draft report from CAG.

Even IIBSPL’s parent company denied such allegations. MahendraNahata, the head of IIBSPL’s parent company Himachal Futuristic Company Ltd ( HFCL), said that no condition in the auction rules was violated and no confidential information was shared with anybody.According to the draft audit report, the IBSPL promoter-director went on electronic media on June 11, 2010, to say the company had been in talks with RIL during the course of auction process.

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