M A I N   N E W S

CBI arrests Raja
Telecom ex-secretary Behura and Raja’s personal secretary also held
Kumar Rakesh/TNS

Spectrum of 2G

May 16, 2007: A Raja appointed telecom minister for the second term
Oct 25: Centre rules out auction of 2G Spectrum
Sept-Oct 2008: 2G licences given to telecom firms
Nov 15: CVC recommends action against telecom ministry officials for lapses
Oct 21, 2009: The CBI registers a case
Oct 22: Department of Telecom offices searched
Oct 17, 2010: CAG indicts DoT for violations
Nov 14: Raja resigns after Oppn rocks Parliament
Nov 15: Kapil Sibal gets charge of telecom ministry
Nov: Parliament stalemate over Oppn demand for JPC
Dec 13: DoT notifies terms of reference of Justice Shivraj V Patil panel to look into spectrum allocation
Dec 24, 25: CBI grills Raja Jan 31, 2011: Patil panel submits report
Feb 2: CBI arrests Raja

New Delhi, February 2
Former Telecom Minister A Raja was today arrested by the CBI for his alleged involvement in the 2G scam, just a week before the investigating agency is scheduled to submit to the Supreme Court its status report on the scandal.

Raja’s former Personal Secretary RK Chandolia and former Telecom Secretary Siddartha Behura were also arrested along with him. According to the Comptroller and Auditor General’s report, spectrum allocation by Raja had caused a presumptive loss of Rs 1.76 lakh crore to the exchequer.

Unconfirmed reports said that Raja’s brother K Perumal was also arrested, but the CBI said he was held only for questioning.

Raja, who belongs to the DMK, a constituent of the UPA government at the Centre, was called to the CBI headquarters this morning for the fourth round of questioning and was arrested a few hours later.

In a brief statement to the media, a CBI spokesman said the agency today arrested Raja and his two former aides “on the basis of facts disclosed so far during the investigation regarding their role in the allocation of letter of intent and resultant UAS licences and spectrum to certain companies ahead of others, in violation of the established guidelines and procedures”.

The arrested trio would be produced in a court tomorrow.

The CBI’s action came a day after DMK chief M Karunanidhi met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi.

The main allegation against Raja is that as the Telecom Minister, he took key decisions that unduly benefited some telecom companies and his kin too raked in money from his alleged largesse by floating several organisations.

CBI sources said Raja stuck to some routine replies during questioning despite mounting evidence against him. He insisted that he was within his power as Cabinet minister to do what he did and washed his hands of the disproportionate increase in the assets of his family members.

The next hearing in the Supreme Court is on February 10 when the CBI and the Enforcement Directorate are likely to submit their probe reports. The apex court had in the past wondered as to why Raja and other accused were not being arrested despite evidence against them.

Raja’s excuse that he did nothing illegal by advancing the cut-off date for telecom firms to submit applications for 2G licences was within his jurisdiction in overruling some objections raised by the law and finance ministries, did not cut much ice with the CBI.

The CBI has questioned several of Raja’s kin, including his brother AK Perumal, former Telecom Regulatory Authority of India Chairman Pradeep Baijal and corporate lobbyist Niira Radia, who was close to Raja and lobbied aggressively for him.

Officials of certain telecom companies are also said to be under the scanner for their role in influencing government policies. Raja’s arrest is being seen as an embarrassment for the government since the new Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal had recently claimed that his predecessor’s policies did not cause any loss to the exchequer, as claimed by a CAG report.





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