The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has registered a corruption case against senior officials working in the Indian Department of Telecommunication (DoT) as well as private persons and companies under section 13(1)(d) of the Prevention of Corruption Act. The DoT is the nodal body that issues policies and licences in India. The CBI raided offices of the Wireless Planning Cell and the Deputy Director General (Access Services) on Thursday attempting to collect incriminating documents. An official communique from the CBI reveals: "there was criminal conspiracy between certain officials of Department of Telecommunication (DoT) and private persons/ companies and others in order to award licenses to these companies by putting a cap on the number of applicants against recommendations of Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) and by awarding licenses to private companies on first come first serve basis on the rates of 2001 without any competitive bidding." According to the Times of India, the Central Vigilance Commission had asked the CBI to investigate the identities of all beneficiaries of stakes bought in Uninor (previously Unitech Wireless, which is now owned by Telenor) and Etisalat DB Telecom India (previously Swan Telecom). An order in May by the Indian telecom regulator TRAI to inspect financial records of six new telcos showed that many had multiplied their value by selling stake within months of receipt of licenses, without having a single customer. The raid follows an attempt in April by the Central Vigilance Commission to identify who was responsible for what various industry personnel and press reports alleged as major irregularities in the distribution process:…
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