AG Vahanvati says Raja altered note cleared by him

AG Vahanvati

Attorney General Goolam E Vahanvati told the Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) on Tuesday that a Department of Telecommunications press release inviting applications for spectrum allocation in 2008 cleared by him was altered by Telecommunications Minister A Raja before it was issued. Vahanvati was the solicitor general at the time.

According to JPC chairman P C Chacko, the Attorney General also asserted that there had been no discussions between him and the minister, as claimed by the latter. Vahanvati told the committee that the changes in the first-come-first-served policy were never discussed with him and he had nothing to do with the allocation of 2G spectrum licences.

Vahanvati stated during his deposition that then telecom secretary Siddharth Behura had brought the file related to the press note pertaining to the policy, on grant of Unified Access Service licences, to him on January 7, 2008, and sought his opinion on the factual status about any stay in court on the issue of letter of intent. He had offered opinion on the "premise of trust", Vahanvati said. However, he was not aware of the amendments subsequently made in the press note issued on January 10, 2008.

Chacko said, "That amendment... which had led to a qualitative change in the selection process was not known to the Attorney General." Vahanvati, according to him, "conceded that he could not disagree that his trust was belied".

Vahanvati also maintained that his noting on the file was only intended to confirm facts and was not a legal opinion.

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