Former Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) chairman Pradip Baijal has made some explosive claims in his self-published tell-all book. Baijal has alleged that the former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh warned him of “harm” if he didn’t cooperate in the 2G case.
Baijal also claimed that then Telecom Minister Dayanidhi Maran compelled him not to implement NDA government’s cabinet decision on Unified Service Licensing.
Baijal was TRAI chief between March 2003 and March 2006. He had pushed for unified licensing, under which an operator can offer telecom and broadcasting services on a single licence and next generation networks for Indian telecom sector that would bring down the network costs significantly.
Baijal, who was probed for several years for his role in the 2G scam, alleges that the UPA government exacted revenge on him years after his retirement for not following Maran’s orders.
As per Baijal, in 2003 the NDA government ordered TRAI to give preference to Unified Access Service Licence during spectrum auction. But then Telecom Minister Dayanidhi Maran suggested otherwise. Yet TRAI in 2005 did as directed by the NDA government. However, Maran till 2007 took no decision. This was a major reason leading to 2G Spectrum scam.
Baijal also said that ex-prime minister Manmohan Singh had wanted him to follow the directions of then telecom minister Dayanidhi Maran.
He also said that in 2009 the UPA government took wrong decisions under some pressure, but later put the blame on bureaucrats.
Baijal was interrogated by the CBI for his role in the 2G spectrum allocation scam, but was not charged.
CBI had also registered a case of alleged cheating against Pradeep Baijal in connection with disinvestment of Laxmi Vilas Palace hotel during NDA rule in 2002.