A key Parliamentary panel slammed telecom and finance Ministries for “inefficient functioning” of some units, as it examined a CAG audit showing Rs 12,488 crore loss to exchequer due to under-reporting of revenue by six firms including Airtel, Vodafone and RCOM. Also Read - Vodafone CEO Nick Read to visit India this week; will seek bailout: ReportAlso Read - BSNL agrees to lay off 54,000 employees, but waiting for elections to be over: Report
The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) said that the lack of proper supervision of Controllers of Communications Accounts (CCAs) in Department of Telecom (DoT) and the Financial Wing in the Finance Ministry has “contributed to significant financial loss to the exchequer”.
Examining the CAG report tabled in Parliament on March 11 on revenue-sharing by private telecom operators between 2006-07 and 2009-10, the PAC also asked the telecom ministry representatives about a large number of litigation as it examined various angles of the sharing formula.
In his opening remarks, PAC Chairman K V Thomas is learnt to have said that the functioning of the Offices of the Controllers of Communications Accounts (CCAs) under Department of Telecom “leaves much to be desired”. According to sources, Thomas also said in the meeting that through its lack of proper supervision the CCAs has “contributed to substantial financial loss to the exchequer”.
The PAC Chairman said that in many cases ineligible deduction were allowed from gross revenue, double deduction on the same claims allowed and excess deductions permitted. He also took a serious view of the “inefficient functioning” of the Finance Wing saying it did not do its job properly while it is supposed to function as a watchdog for the utilization of finance by the ministry.
Noting that the in many cases, the telecom department has defended their “inaction” on the ground that the matter is subjudice, the PAC Chairman said that the judiciary has always been very considerate where the government revenue is involved and asked the department to examine whether the courts granted any stay for raising such demand.
In its report, the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) had said that Reliance Communications, Tata Tele, Vodafone, Airtel, Idea and Aircel under-reported their adjusted gross revenue by Rs 46,045.75 crore, leading to a loss of Rs 12,488.93 crore to the exchequer from 2006 to 2010. The CAG had said adjustment of one-time entry fee paid by telecom firms, whose licences were quashed by the Supreme Court,deprived exchequer of Rs 5,476.3 crore.
After hearing the DoT officials today, the PAC decided to discuss the issue again on March 13.