"I want to say that the SC order of 2012 was about access spectrum and not backhaul spectrum. It is not one service provider but all those who were genuine, were given microwave spectrum on an administrative basis, before and after the order," Sinha told reporters here.
The Congress had, earlier this week, demanded a probe into the matter following findings of the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) that a set of spectrum was allocated in 2015 on first-come-first-served basis in contravention to recommendations of a committee. The Congress had alleged that the CAG had found that various instances of spectrum mismanagement by the Department of Telecom (DoT) had caused a loss of around Rs 560 crore to the public exchequer.
"The allegations are baseless and without any evidence," Sinha said.
The minister asserted that so far the backhaul spectrum has not been auctioned, but allocated administratively, and added that telecom regulator too had recommended the same.
To a specific question on whether there is a decision to auction such spectrum, the minister said, "So far there is no decision...we are neither considering it nor studying". He said adequate safeguards are in place to ensure that whenever the government takes a decision, those allotted such spectrum will have to pay up, retrospectively.
Sinha also defended the decision on deferred spectrum liability, saying extending the period of making payments to 16 years would bring an additional Rs 74,446 crore to government coffers.
"When the inter-ministerial group gave recommendation (on the matter), it gave consideration to net present value and the same was the case with the Telecom Department and Telecom Commission, so the entire matter was well thought out, to see how urgent relief can be given to the sector without causing loss to exchequer," he said.
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