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Raja claims PM was in loop about 2G deals
Sandeep Yadav
Tribune News Service

A Raja
A Raja

New Delhi, July 25
DMK MP and former Telecom Minister A Raja, who is facing corruption charges in the multi-crore 2G Spectrum allocation scam, today hit back at the Central Government and told a city court that the issue of sale of equity by the Spectrum licencees was discussed with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the then Finance Minister P Chidambaram.

He said Chidambaram told the Prime Minister that the dilution of shares by the accused licencees to attract foreign direct investment did not amount to sale of licence.

Raja said he could not be held responsible for not auctioning 2G Spectrum as the policy in that regard was set much before he took over the ministry and that the same was followed by his predecessors and even the NDA government.

Appearing on behalf of Raja, senior advocate Sushil Kumar told the Special CBI court that the matter (about the sale of equity by Spectrum licencees) was discussed between the Prime Minister and the then Finance Minister (P Chidambaram) and that Raja could not be held responsible for the decision.

“The Finance Minister, who is now the Home Minister, had said in front of the Prime Minister that the dilution of shares did not amount to sale of 2G licence as per the corporate law,” said Kumar. When the sale of equity did not amount to sale of licence, there was no question of earning profit and if there was no profit, how could there be corruption?, he added.

Kumar said Raja was being prosecuted for a policy that all telecom ministers had followed since 1993 and if he was wrong in doing so, then all telecom ministers should also be in the jail with him.

"If they had done no wrong, why am I being questioned? Let them deny that they have not done what I did. I was just following the 2003 Cabinet decision of not auctioning 2G Spectrum. If I am following the law, I am not liable to be prosecuted. In fact, I should be rewarded," said Raja's counsel on his behalf while opposing framing of charges against him.

According to Kumar, former Telecom Ministers Arun Shourie distributed 26 licences while Dayanidhi Maran gave 25 and Raja distributed 122 licences. "Numbers make no difference. However, it is to be noted that none of them auctioned the Spectrum," said Kumar.

The counsel also questioned the CBI's authority and expertise to decide the amount of loss (Rs 30,000 crore) that the state exchequer suffered due to the 2G Spectrum allocation and charged that the agency was following selective allegations against some people.

"As per the CBI, when DB Realty gave its shares (in Swan Telecom) to bring in FDI, it amounted to sale and so is with Unitech (Wireless). But, when Tata Tele Services gives its shares to bring in FDI, it, according to the CBI, does not amount to sale," Kumar said. While Unitech sold 67 per cent equity for Rs 6,120 crore, Tata Tele Services got Rs 13,973 crore by selling only 27 per cent equity, he added.

Raja was arrested on February 2 for his alleged role in 2G Spectrum scam and is currently lodged in Tihar Jail along with 14 other accused.


Govt slams Raja’s charge

The government on Monday hit out at the BJP for demanding for demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Home Minister P Chidambaram, who were dragged into the Spectrum scam by former Telecom Minister A Raja.

“The BJP president should have consulted Arun Jaitley or any other lawyer in his party. Raja’s statement in the court is his defence. It is a contention. It can’t be treated as evidence against anyone,” said Union Minister Kapil Sibal.

Advising Gadkari to remain silent, Sibal said: “Every time he speaks, he exposes himself. It would be wise for him not to speak.”

Sibal also slammed the BJP for not taking any action against Karnataka CM BS Yedyurappa. Home Minister P Chidambaram, on the other hand, said: “There are nine documented cases involving right- wing terror groups making bombs and killing people and the BJP is targeting selective ministers because the UPA has quickened investigations into them.”

Earlier, Sibal and Chidambaram dismissed Raja’s allegations that two new telecom licencees Unitech and Swan divested their equity at premium. “There was no disinvestment. It was just a dilution of stake by bringing additional equity. It was permissible and the Finance Minister conveyed so to the PM,” they said. — TNS

PM, PC should quit: BJP

The BJP, on the back foot for the last one week on the Karnataka issue, got a much-needed breather from former Communications Minister A Raja’s defence in the court and immediately got back at the UPA government demanding PM Manmohan Singh and Home Minister P Chidambaram’s resignation for their alleged complicity in the 2G scam.

BJP president Nitin Gadkari also indicated that this is an issue the party will not let go easily and may carry it to the coming monsoon session. Soon after Raja’s defence, Gadkari took the centrestage and turned the heat on the PM and Chidambaram, who chaired the Finance Ministry then.

Giving an inkling of days to come Gadkari recalled how he had equated Sonia Gandhi’s claims about fighting corruption to Pakistan’s claims of fighting terrorism and said he had ultimately been proved right. — TNS





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