M A I N   N E W S

Behura stands by A Raja, targets PM
Sandeep Yadav
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 28
Following into the footsteps of his former boss A Raja, Siddhartha Behura, former Telecom Secretary facing corruption charges in the 2G scam, today sought his discharge in the case before a Special CBI court on the ground that he was being victimised for following the policy which was backed by his minister, approved by the then Solicitor-General (GE Vahanvati) and to which Prime Minister himself was privy to.

"I am a civil servant and cannot be held an accused for following the policy which had the backing of the Telecom Minister and was approved by the Solicitor-General and not only that even the Prime Minister was privy to it," stressed senior advocate Aman Lekhi submitting Behura's plea before Judge OP Saini this morning.

According to Behura, PMO was kept in the loop by the then Telecom Minister, A Raja, about use of the first-come-first-served (FCFS) policy being employed in awarding spectrum licences.

Lekhi even went on to read a letter (dated December 26, 2007) written by Raja to the PM in that regard. Going through the letter, Lekhi pointed out that instead of according seniority on the basis of the date of application, Department of Telecom (DoT) decided to award licences to companies that complied with the terms of the letter of intent (LoI) first and that was also approved by then Solicitor-General.

"Since the government has adopted a policy of "no cap" on the number of UAS licences, a large number of letters of intent are being proposed to be issued simultaneously. In these circumstances, an applicant who fulfils conditions of LoI first will be granted licence first, although several applicants will be issued LoIs simultaneously. The same has been concurred to by the Solicitor-General during discussions," Lekhi said while reading from the letter and concluded that no matter how bad the policy was, it was not criminal and even if it was, the policy was not framed by his client.





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