A former aide of A Raja on Wednesday told a local court that corporate lobbyist Niira Radia used to call him "many times" on phone to inquire about the "whereabouts" of former telecom minister.
Asservartham Achary, former additional private secretary of Raja, also claimed that during one of the telephone conversations Radia told him to pass on a message to the then minister that she had sorted his "Kalaignar TV problem." DMK MP Kanimozhi, an accused in the 2G scam case, has 20% stake in DMK-run Kalaignar TV.
Achary was put to intense questioning by senior advocate and Kanimozhi's counsel Ram Jethmalani in a Delhi Court where he gave answers to queries ranging from Raja's communication with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and conversations with Radia.
When asked about Raja and Radia, Achary said the corporate lobbyist used to call him "many times" on phone to inquire about the former telecom minister and that she had also spoken about Kalaignar TV.
"It is correct that before my conversation (of September 18, 2008), Niira Radia had spoken to me many times on phone. She used to speak to me about the whereabouts of A Raja... I used to address her ma'am and not by her name," Achary said.
During cross-examination, Achary, deposing as a CBI witness, said he immediately used to recognize Radia's voice when she called him.
Jethmalani asked him if he was aware of the Kalaignar TV problem that Radia was referring to during their telephonic conversation on September 18, 2008.
Radia had called Achary saying, "Ok tell him (Raja) that I have sorted out his Kalaignar problem. That Kalaignar TV problem."
Achary had a tough time to answer questions from Jethmalani relating to Raja's November 2, 2007 letter to the prime minister as in the first instance he was not sure whether it was urgent or not but later he admitted that it was urgent.
"I am not aware if the urgency was that Raja wanted to communicate to the prime minister that either he had not received his letter sent during the day or had (PM) ignored it," he first said when Jethmalani asked Achary whether he was aware of the reason of being called by Raja at around 9 pm at former telecom minister's camp office at his residence on November 2, 2007.
However, on seeing the letter, Achary said, "I admit that this was the cause of urgency."
Raja's November 2, 2007 letter was related to the cut off date for applications for the 2G licences and he had informed the prime minister that as unprecedented number of applications were being received, a cut-off date of October 1, 2007 announced on September 24, 2007 was retrospectively preponed for September 25 which the CBI alleged was done to favour some private telecom companies.
About the Kalaignar issue, Achary said he was not aware of the exact problem of the TV channel about which Radia was referring to but came to know about it after he was called by the CBI for his examination.
Achary said Radia wanted him to convey her message about Kalaignar TV to Raja and he did it accordingly.
"I did not know what specific problem was. I came to know about this problem after I was called by the CBI and they played the tape. I did not ask Raja as to what this problem was nor did I ask Radia about this on that day or any other day subsequently," he said.
Radia's conversation with politicians, businessmen, bureaucrats and journalists recorded by the Income Tax Department was leaked selectively.
"Since I was in exit mood, I did not try to understand as to what the problem was which Radia was referring to," he said.