Former telecom minister A Raja once again refused to take the blame for the 2G telecom spectrum allocation scam, and said Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had been aware of policy decisions and attorney general GE Vahanvati was spreading a “series of lies”.
In his 17-page response to the questionnaire sent to him by the joint parliamentary committee (JPC), Raja said he had also kept the then external affairs minister Pranab Mukherjee in the loop.
The 2G scam refers to the issuing of 122 new telecom licences by the government in 2007-08 in violation of several rules that cost the exchequer Rs. 1.76 lakh crore according to the Comptroller & Auditor General of India. Raja, who was the then-telecom minister, is the main accused in the case.
The former minister, who has spent 15 months in jail, said he had exchanged letters with the PM in November 2007 on related issues and also had several discussions subsequently.
"It was agreed... that the minister of communication and IT would have discussions with Pranab Mukherjee... since he was heading the Group of Ministers on vacation of spectrum," he wrote.
Raja said Vahanvati, the then Solicitor General, was also present at the discussions and slammed him for telling the JPC that he (Raja) had made changes in a press release related to the 2G licences. It had been alleged that Raja deleted paragraphs from the release to favour Swan Telecom in the allocation process.