Having been forced to resign as telecom minister in the wake of the 2G spectrum scam, DMK leader A Raja on Wednesday questioned the findings of the CAG report indicting him and attacked the media for condemning him even before the trial.
Senior counsel TR Andhyarujina, who is representing Raja, said the alleged loss of R1.76 lakh crore to the exchequer suggested by the CAG was “mind-boggling and speculative”. He also called the report “a subjective opinion” which will not withstand judicial scrutiny.
He accused the media of conducting an extra-judicial trial against Raja, adding his silence was being treated as admission of guilt. “I (Raja) stand condemned. I am charged, tried and convicted in the eyes of media... The impression is that I am responsible for the loss of Rs 1.76 lakh crore,” he said.
“My (Raja) stock is so low today that whatever I say, nothing can redeem my reputation,” his counsel told justices GS Singhvi and AK Ganguly. He added that Raja feels he is the “villain of the piece”, to which the bench responded by saying “don’t feel so”.
Andhyarujina also questioned the leak of the draft report to the media.
On the CAG report, Andhyarujina said: “It’s a presumptive value of loss which gives a mindboggling figure of R1.76 lakh crore. The figure is totally speculative.”
The SC responded, “The CAG report makes a prima facie case for investigation against the former telecom minister and department of telecom officials. That is why we asked for a CBI report and it has been submitted in a sealed cover.”
Andhyarujina said: “Certainly, there is a strong indictment of the whole (telecom) department. But to say that it has resulted into an offence under the Prevention of Corruption Act is not correct… It requires further investigation.” He said the CAG report placed in Parliament was under examination by its PAC.
Andhyarujina said the principle which has been applied by the CAG in its auditing is not accepted as standard method of evaluation.
“It is a subjective opinion...” he said, adding the CAG auditing pertained to the period 2003-08, while Raja came on scene on May 16, 2007. Before Raja became minister, his predecessors Dayanidhi Maran and Arun Shourie had already granted 52 licences.” Andhyarujina said the CAG cannot override what was done on the basis of TRAI recommendations.