Behura claims AG cleared Swan telecom eligibility | delhi | Hindustan Times
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Behura claims AG cleared Swan telecom eligibility

delhi Updated: Jul 28, 2011 23:53 IST
Sumit Saxena
Sumit Saxena
Hindustan Times
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Jailed former telecom secretary Siddharth Behura said attorney general of India GE Vahanvati (then solicitor general) had cleared eligibility of Swan telecom for 2G-spectrum licences.

The CBI has chargesheeted Swan and its owners for forging their application to secure the spectrum licenses.

Behura's counsel Aman Lekhi, appearing before the special CBI judge OP Saini, said in January 2008 Behura had cleared Swan eligibility for telecom license. Similarly, the SG in March 2009, along with other top-level officials of Department of Telecom gave the legal opinion — stating that Swan is eligible for telecom licenses. "How can a legal opinion warranted by the AG become unwarranted if the same opinion is given by telecom secretary?" said Lekhi in his arguments defending the charges against Behura.

Lekhi claimed that if Behura is accused of wrongdoing, for clearing the application, then the country's top law officer should charged similarly.

Behura has been charged of cheating, criminal conspiracy along with other government officers to facilitate the allocation of licenses to selected telecom companies, and following corrupt practices in the allocation of licenses.

Claiming his innocence, Behura said a letter, written by Raja to the Prime Minister on December 26, 2007, makes it clear that Vahanvati also approved the shift in the first-come-first-served (FCFS) policy.

Lekhi said, "I am a civil servant. I cannot be accused of following the policy which had the backing of the telecom minister and was approved by the SG and not only that, even the Prime Minister was privy to it."

Countering CBI's claim that Behura deliberately misplaced the Tata application for 2G-spectrum, his counsel said joint wireless adviser RJS Kushwaha had misplaced Tata appplication.