Montek backs Sibal on 2G scam figure

NEW DELHI: Planning Commission deputy
chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia

Sunday said CAG’s estimate of Rs 1.76 lakh crore loss in the 2G spectrum scam
was a “way out unrealistic number”. 
Ahluwalia, who backed telecom minister Kapil Sibal’s view that the CAG’s
estimate was “utterly erroneous”, said focusing on revenue loss would
be an analytical red herring as revenue maximisation was not the target of
spectrum sale. Earlier this month, Sibal had said the actual loss to the
exchequer was nil. His comments had stirred a political controversy prompting
the CAG to say it stood by its report. 
In a TV interview, Ahluwalia said, “The loss of consumer benefit (if
spectrum was sold at a higher price) would be ten times the loss of revenue.
Higher telecom penetration translated into huge benefits for the rest of the
Referring to the equity sale by Swan and Unitech Wireless after the firms
bagged 2G spectrum, Ahluwalia said, “Swan and Unitech Wireless simply
issued new equity which lowered their own equity in the companies
He said the two companies issued fresh equity to companies that bought into
them and the money did not go to the promoters. “It (the money) went into
new companies and it is meant to be used to roll out telecom services. They did
not sell their equity. They expanded the equity of the company and brought in
new people. That’s not the same thing,” Ahluwalia said.