Raja hits back, drags in PM, Chidambaram | delhi | Hindustan Times
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Raja hits back, drags in PM, Chidambaram

Former telecom minister A Raja on Monday dragged Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the then finance minister P Chidamabaram in the 2G spectrum scam, saying he had discussed sale of equity by spectrum licence-holders with them.

delhi Updated: Jul 25, 2011 23:49 IST
HT Correspondent

Former telecom minister A Raja on Monday dragged Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the then finance minister P Chidamabaram in the 2G spectrum scam, saying he had discussed sale of equity by spectrum licence-holders with them.

"Let the Prime Minister deny this," his counsel Sushil Kumar told Special Judge OP Saini during arguments on charge.

Raja was arrested on February 2 for his alleged role in the 2G spectrum scam and the CBI chargesheeted him on April 2 accusing him of corruption, cheating, forgery and criminal conspiracy that caused a loss of R30,000 crore to the government. Besides Raja, the CBI has chargesheeted 16 others, including three companies.

His counsel told the court there was nothing wrong in his decision not to auction 2G spectrum as he was following policies pursued by his predecessors and the NDA government. “If policy pursued by me was wrong, then all former telecom ministers since 1993 should also be in jail with me (Raja).”

Kumar said Chidambaram had then told the PM that dilution of shares by the accused licencees to attract FDI did not amount to sale of licence. Contending that sale of equity was not sale of licence, Kumar asserted Raja cannot be accused of corruption in the 2G spectrum allocation.

"The matter (about sale of equity by spectrum licencees) was discussed between the Prime Minister and the then finance minister. The then finance minister .... had said in front of the PM that dilution of shares does not amount to sale of 2G licence as per the corporate law," Kumar said.

"When sale of equity does not amount to sale of licence, there is no question of earning profit. How can (then) be corruption there in this regard?," Kumar asked.

Raja accused the CBI of sparing Tata Teleservices, which made Rs14,000 crore in the scam.

"Let the prosecution touch the man who has made Rs14,000 crore in this. They cannot touch him. This is my challenge (to CBI). Picking and choosing (the accused) is not permissible in law," his counsel said.

"The CBI, however, is maintaining that when DB Realty gave its shares (in Swan Telecom) to bring in money, it amounted to sale and so is the case with Unitech (Wireless). But, when Tata Teleservices gives its shares to bring in FDI, it, .... does not amount to sale," Kumar contended.

Unitech sold 67% equity for Rs6,120 crore whereas Tata Teleservices got Rs13,973 crore by selling only 27% equity, he said, adding that even then Tata was not accused by the CBI.

“Who is a better businessman — Sanjay Chandra of Unitech or Ratan Tata of Tata Teleservices? And then they say we kept them (Tata) out of Delhi circle," Raja said.