'Tata Evading Issue of Benefit from Telco Policy'

New Delhi
'Tata Evading Issue of Benefit from Telco Policy'
Under attack from Tata group chief Ratan Tata for his alleged role in subverting telecom policy to benefit some operators, Rajya Sabha MP and former telecom entrepreneur Rajeev Chandrasekhar today hit back saying Tata was diverting the issues raised by him.

Chandrasekhar, who earlier alleged that Tatas were one of the biggest beneficiaries of the out-of-turn allocation of 2G spectrum contrary their claims of transparency and probity, said that Tata had not understood the issues raised by him in an open letter this week.

Chandrasekhar's comments came within hours of Tata slamming him for the alleged subversive role played by him to change the telecom policies for the benefit of some large GSM operators, while denying level-playing field to others.

"I think either he has not understood what I was trying to say in the letter... I have actually agreed with the three points he has raised in his interview."

"I have agreed with him and I have only pointed out to him that the conduct of his company is in variance from what he says so the main issue is the gap between what he says, his probity...And the conduct of his company which he has not addressed and that is where matter is," he told reporters here.

Earlier in the day, Tata pointed out Chandrasekhar's alleged role in 2002 to prevent entry of Wireless in Local Loop (WLL) limited mobility and CDMA and wondered if what he did was not lobbying.

"Would you consider this as an endeavour to influence or subvert policy? To influence politicians or solicit support from selected corporates?"

"I take it that in your view, this would not constitute lobbying... Your affiliation to a particular political party is well-known and it appears that political aspirations and their endeavour to embarrass the Prime Minister and the ruling party may well have been the motivation behind your letter and the insinuations which you make," Tata said in an open letter -- in what was a reply to Chandrasekhar's letter.

To this, Chandrasekhar, who was formerly president of GSM operators lobby Cellular Operators Association of India, said: "We fought in courts, fought in (regulatory forum) TRAI, fought in Supreme Court, fought in (telecom tribunal) TDSAT that is not the same as somebody going around telling lobby so I think they are two different views of lobbying."

"I consider going to court is my fundamental right as a citizen. Mr Tata may consider that lobby, but I don't."

The Rajya Sabha MP, who equated Tata's reaction today with someone shooting the messenger, had earlier alleged that Tata group is a beneficiary of out-of-turn spectrum, saying, "It is a fact admitted by the government on affidavit that 575 applications were received for 2G spectrum by October 1, 2007."

He then pointed out that Tatas own application (for dual technology) came in around October 22.
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