With less than estimated collections in the 2G spectrum auctions, BJP on Thursday defended the CAG's submission that there was a loss of Rs1.76 lakh crore in the earlier allocations and said the UPA government's policies were responsible for the low bidding.
"They (UPA government) first destroyed the telecom sector, a sector which is the real success story of economic liberalisation in India. First that success story was destroyed.... Having destroyed the market and the sector how would you expect that people would come forward and bid the amounts that you are expecting," BJP leader Yashwant Sinha told reporters.
The former finance minister termed as the "most ridiculous argument" the government's contention that going by the CAG the collection should have been Rs1 lakh crore. The total bidding for the 22 licenses for 2G spectrum was Rs9,407 crore. "We are not in government, we did not fix those amounts. They are the ones who have fixed the amount. And having destroyed something they are teaching us that we were wrong. They are teaching the CAG, that the CAG was wrong," Sinha said.
Alleging that under the UPA regime the number of subscribers for mobile telephony have actually gone down instead of going up, BJP spokesperson Prakash Javadekar said it is deplorable that the government is now pointing fingers at the CAG and insisted that what the government auditor had said earlier was "absolutely true".
"Had the government pursued the route of auction in 2008 it would have gained. The government lost time and money in the course. 2012 is not 2008. Already we are moving to a one billion mobile density. The whole business investment atmosphere is vitiated because of policy paralysis and lack of governance and this has been reflected in the response," Javadekar said.
He said the government had auctioned only 22 of the 122 2G spectrum licenses. "Loss shown by CAG was right. The lack of response points to the government's failure and now they are blaming it on the CAG," Javadekar said.
BJP vice-president Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said the government keeps looking for ways to attack constitutional institutions like the CAG which is acting in a fair and independent manner.