2G: Mulayam sent six letters to PM, Pranab, Pawar in 1 month
- Political parties can't be under RTI Act: Centre tells Supreme Court
- US stocks plunge in early trade; Dow Jones falls more than 1,000 points
- Black Monday: Sensex crashes 1,624 pts; Rs 7-lakh cr wiped out
- OROP row escalates, ex-serviceman on fast-unto-death shifted to hospital
- UN court to India: Suspend all trials against Italian marines
While supporting the UPA government from outside, SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav has been putting sustained pressure on the Centre on spectrum-related issues, sending at least half-a-dozen letters to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, and then finance minister Pranab Mukherjee and Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar when they were heading the Empowered Group of Ministers (EGoM).
In his bid to influence the government's decisions, he sent one letter to Mukherjee and two to the Prime Minister in June this year. On June 30, he sent two letters to Pawar on a single day, following these with another the very next day. His letters to Pawar came barely a week before the EGoM meeting that was expected to take key decisions on the auctioning of 2G spectrum.
The central theme of his letters was largely about protecting the interest of "newer players who entered the markets much later" against old operators like Bharti, Vodafone and Idea, who he termed as "part of GSM cartel" in one of his letters to Pawar.
Significantly, the SP chief sought to use the 2G scam to put pressure on the government. In a letter to the PM on June 10, he said he was "very concerned" about the telecom department's proposal on payment of new auction-determined price of spectrum by all mobile operators for the remaining period of their licences.
"The government has already had to face severe embarrassment, long before CBI investigations, adverse reports by CAG, and sustained public criticism, because of the random and arbitrary manner in which the DoT functioned from 2008 to 2010 to favour a handful of parties. It appears that the DoT officials have still not learnt anything from these unfortunate developments. It is obvious that this new proposal has deliberately been thought of to benefit the older GSM mobile operators who have enjoyed the benefit of spectrum at the old lower prices for 17-18 years and who will have to pay the higher price for only the remaining two-three years of their licences," he wrote.