Adjustment of one-time entry fee paid by telecom companies, whose licences were quashed by the Supreme Court, against the spectrum price they paid in 2012-13 deprived national exchequer of Rs 5,476.3 crore...
Adjustment of one-time entry fee paid by telecom companies, whose licences were quashed by the Supreme Court, against the spectrum price they paid in 2012-13 deprived national exchequer of Rs 5,476.3 crore, a CAG report tabled in Parliament said today.
“Set-off of the non-refundable entry fee of Rs 5,476.30 crore paid by licensees in 2008 whose licences were declared illegal and quashed by the Supreme Court against the auction price payable for spectrum in 1800 MHz/800 MHz held in November 2012/March 2013 deprived the government of the revenue to that extent,” the audit report on communication and IT sector stated today.
The government in 2012 decided to adjust the licence fee paid by companies whose permits were quashed in the 2G case. The rider was the adjustment will be provided in the spectrum price those players will shell out in the auction to procure the airwaves.
DoT provided set-off of Rs 1,658.57 crore to Telewings Communications Services (TCSPL), now Telenor, Rs 1,626.32 crore to Sistema Shyam Teleservices (SSTL), Rs 1,506.82 crore to Videocon Telecom and Rs 684.59 crore to Idea Cellular following decision of Empowered Group of Ministers (EGoM) in 2012-13.
Only TCSPL, SSTL, Videocon, Idea participated in auction out of nine operators whose licences were quashed.
CAG said entry fee paid by companies was one-time entry fee and was non-refundable. It cited that even Attorney General in legal opinion sought the DoT mentioned that question of refund of entry fee paid by the companies does not arise at this stage.
It said that even though the Supreme Court did not made any distinction among the licensees while quashing the 122 licences of 9 operators, the DoT on the plea of the operators that their licences were cancelled for no fault of theirs, created two categories of quashed licensees.
The set-off was allowed for operators whose licences were quashed without their fault.
The auditor said it found the requests for set-off of quashed licences were accepted without any verification of the grounds submitted by them.
Even the revenue of Rs 7,741.65 crore earned by these companies from the quashed licences since 2008 was not considered by DoT while preparing note for EGoM for set-off of non-refundable entry fee, the report said.
CAG said that set-off of the non-refundable entry fee of Rs 5476.3 crore “was inappropriate and deprived government of the revenue to that extent”.