Siddhartha Behura, who as the telecom secretary signed the controversial 2G licences announced on
January 8, 2008, was incidentally a key officer responsible for the liberalization of the industrial sector in way back in 1991. When Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, then finance minister pioneered the liberalization process in 1991, it was Behura who as a joint secretary in Department of Industrial Development successfully formulated India ’s New Industrial Policy, 1991. India
Behura, a 1973 batch UP cadre IAS joined the Department of Industrial Development as a director in 1989 and got promoted as joint secretary in 1991. He continued with the department till the end of 1994. Not just that, Behura became the first ex-officio secretary of the newly-created Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) which was responsible for formulating policies for entry of foreign investors into
and also attracting foreign investment into the country. India
Behura’s name has been discussed in power corridor ever since
’s auditor, CAG, found telecom department responsible for a revenue loss of Rs 1.76 lakh crore while doling out 2G spectrum licences, forcing minister A Raja to resign. (In Picture: Behura with then telecom minister Raja, File photo) On Thursday, Supreme Court asked investigating agency CBI for its inability to question former telecom minister A Raja and telecom secretary in the 2G spectrum scam, and went to the extent of saying that the agency was “beating around the bush” when “illegality is prima facie evident.” India
Recently, Behura told an Indian newspaper, Financial Express, that he only implemented the decision taken by the minister in the fairest possible manner as there was no other alternative. He had claimed that when he joined office as telecom secretary on
January 1, 2008, all decisions with regard to granting of licences were taken either verbally or on files. “I had no option but to implement the minister’s decision. The relationship between the minister and secretary is a very tenuous one and I would not like to go into it, but my record is clean,” he told the newspaper. In fact, his predecessor DS Mathur has come out in media saying that he had refused to abide by his minister so far as the 2G licences were concerned. Mathur retired as the telecom secretary on December 31, 2007.
Behura, who had also served as CEO of Noida, was with environment ministry between 2005 and 2007 when A Raja was the environment minister. Just before joining as the telecom secretary, he was a special secretary in the ministry of environment and forests.
Immediately after his retirement as telecom secretary on
September 30, 2009, Raja made him the chairman of C-DoT Alcatel-Lucent Research Centre based in Chennai.