Telecom scam, buried and revived

Why did the media ignore ISRO’s S-band scam for so long after it was in the public domain, asks Achintya Mukherjee



Details of the 'ISRO scam', which the Opposition claims to have unearthed a few days ago, were sent by the Bombay Telephone Users' Association (BTUA) to the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) and LK Advani, then leader of the Opposition, and the Department of Telecommunications (DoT), eight months ago, in June 2010 to be precise. But politicians raise the issue-as they are doing now on the ISRO spectrum case-only to score political brownie points when it is convenient to them. Consequently, the loot of the natural resources of the country, which belong to all its citizens, continues unabated.

I am aware that the papers about the scandal were received (although for some strange reason, Speed Post acknowledgement due notices never come back from the political luminaries in Delhi), because I did hear from my sources in Delhi that the matter had reached the prime minister. But we heard of no action. Neither Mr Advani, nor his party did anything in the matter then. It was not raised in Parliament, nor was the information 'leaked' to the Delhi media, as has become the practice, so that an investigation could begin.

The principal issues in matters related to spectrum were raised in a consultation paper of Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) on spectrum allocation, put up on the TRAI website on 16 October 2009. In its response on 22 December 2009, BTUA had focused on the questions of (1) taking an inventory of the spectrum in use and not in use, (2) the return of spectrum received in excess or that which was affected by re-farming (example, defence, police, railways, etc), and (3) logical re-farming on the principles of best and efficient use per application, thus freeing the unused spectrum which would be released for commercial allocation.
 
BTUA criticised the authorities for raising these questions again when the very same questions had already been raised by TRAI in the consultation paper of May 2004 on spectrum-related issues. BTUA said that "it should have been the task of the DoT and its subsidiary agencies by now to have transparently studied this subject and indeed presented to the country a possible roadmap…it is the DoT (Wireless Planning and Coordination Wing) that should have given the answers for availability and suggestions for re-farming. In fact, without the data on this availability, decisions will only reflect the skewed process of recommendations and piecemeal approach to critical issues of progress."
 
Had such an inventory been taken, it would have become clear which organisation (private or public) was using which bandwidth and all questions of the allocation of 72Mhz to Dewas would have come out in the open. The citizens of India remain in the dark till today if there are other bandwidths generously doled out to other organisations. It is not to say that infinite spectrum is available, but the whole process appears to be manipulated to create an artificial scarcity, when the management of spectrum can be more efficient and transparent.
 
Incidentally, BTUA's response was not even put up on the TRAI website. The Comptroller & Auditor General (CAG) has repeatedly pointed out to TRAI and DoT (and I have done so myself) the need to have effective involvement of consumers who are the biggest stakeholders in the telecom space. Without this, all decisions are skewed in favour of service providers and the industry because it is they who have the lucre-not the ordinary consumer.

BTUA made the point that whereas the government may have raised huge resources through auctioning of spectrum to cover a part of the budgetary deficit created by profligacy, private enrichment from nexus and corruption, leakages and sheer incompetence in all areas of governance, in the final analysis, all of this would be recovered from the common citizens through the cost of services provided and taxes thereon.

All of these questions were also posed to the users of spectrum who would also be affected by this poor management. BTUA's note was sent to several members of the press and to a large group of activists and citizens on BTUA's email list. The issues went unpublished in the media because it would have gone against the interests of the service providers.
 
I wrote then: "Democracy can only work if there is a critical mass of citizens who are committed to asking the right questions and demanding accountability of the executive (Government of India)... Your involvement is vital for adding to that critical mass. So please think about it and tell us what you feel."

The Association wanted to carry the voice of the people to the policy-makers. It still does, in the hope that some of it will pierce their deaf ears in Delhi.

(Achintya Mukherjee is the honorary joint secretary of the Bombay Telephone Users' Association-BTUA)

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2 years ago
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aktarkhan0005
Replied to aktarkhan0005 comment 2 years ago
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Surjeet Kumar
3 years ago
Respected sir
I received a email in which mail reference number CGN/OHG/OXD1/2019 in the regarding matter that the United Nations stated in respect of winner no-00027/WB
Winning ticket number is-76203/PAWB/176 in further detail of RBI governor name disclosed Mr shaktikant Dass and also demand of some information about me that is as per mentioned below in sequence
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Bank branch-Amroha
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Above information demanded me on the basis of [email protected]
My confusion arises that is fake or true
Please suggest me thanks
Rahul Nishad
3 years ago
hi
Jai Katrot
3 years ago
I'm in jannu Dondu katrot
abhishek kumar
3 years ago
I think that i am very happy to read your message of whatsapp in which you send me that my whatsapp no. won 2crore 55 lakhs rs.
DIGVIJAY PASWAN
3 years ago
Bidwan Sekhar Rout
4 years ago
Sir igot and also talked with Mr tarun sinha the employee of foreign management and also get mail from rbi that I win 4crore and 80 lakhs amount as whattsup global award .and also they tried to say that if u transfor amount 18900 for chrge .I know if anyone submit chek so it's better for NEFT process should I complain for consumer foroum about
Bidwan Sekhar Rout
Replied to Bidwan Sekhar Rout comment 4 years ago
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Pakshiraj
4 years ago
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4 years ago
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Dhanpat suthar
4 years ago
Sir, i got a msg from outlook that i won a prize of 3.60 karor and apples fone etc.
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-Suryansh -
Replied to Dhanpat suthar comment 4 years ago
FAKE
Saidun Nisa
Replied to Dhanpat suthar comment 4 years ago
Saidun Nisa
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Bidwan Sekhar Rout
Replied to Dhanpat suthar comment 4 years ago
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srihari hari
4 years ago
Dear sir ,
today morning i got mail from [email protected] said that u won 4 crores and they asked to send the details of my account and address, pan card ,photo and all . i sent all details of my account to them is there any problem with them ??
V Krishnendu Sinha
4 years ago
Dear Sir,
Recently it came to my knowledge that I have received a prize money and is lying in RBI. I submitted a complaint in the consumer board forum and they have also investigated and found it to be true. While they have asked me to contact a person named Mr. Anish Patel in a mobile no.+919035934576 and accordingly I contacted. As a matter fact, this person duped me in pretext of some fees needed from transfer of the prized money to my account. Surprisingly since 24.04.2018, he is not responding to my calls.

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-Suryansh -
Replied to V Krishnendu Sinha comment 4 years ago
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4 years ago
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5 years ago
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Chitra Chandra
5 years ago
I got same mail from RBI about amount winning..and they said to contact transfer department so tell me what should I do
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