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Raja sensed trouble even before CBI probe

delhi Updated: Jul 21, 2011 00:57 IST
Abhishek Sharan

Around five months ahead of the CBI started 2G spectrum scam probe in 2009 October, when it registered the FIR, former telecom minister A Raja was apparently jittery that he will get in trouble over the alleged irregularities in the allocation of telecom licences.

Raja had apprehended that his DMK colleague and former telecom minister Dayanidhi Maran could allegedly leak to media about him being a ‘tainted minister’ due to irregularities related to “spectrum” allocation that the CBI would uncover later. This was disclosed in Raja’s telephonic conversations with corporate lobbyist Niira Radia in May, 2009, at a time when UPA-2 Cabinet was being formed. Raja was anxious over his chances of getting the telecom portfolio again after his first stint, in 2007-09.

The Raja-Radia telephonic conversations’ excerpts were recently submitted as additional evidence to CBI’s spectrum chargesheet in a special court. The conversations were part of Radia’s statement as a witness.

Referring to Maran, Raja told Radia: “The only thing is (Dayanidhi) Maran will start campaign against me…that has to be taken care of…He may tell the press a tainted minister is coming again.” Radia responded, “We are prepared to fight definitely... we have (a) way… don’t worry we have to take so much off you even Congress has to make that statement.”

When asked, Radia clarified while explaining the conversations’ context to the CBI, saying, “I had this conversation with Raja at the time of formation of Central Cabinet…the conversation was about the induction of Raja as the telecom minister.”

During the same month, in 2009 May, Radia also spoke to DMK MP Kanimozhi about the “permutation and combination about the induction of A Raja as the telecom minister.”

Kanimozhi expressed her fears that if anybody, including Maran, said “even one line” against Raja to her dad (DMK supremo M Karunanidhi), that might ruin his chances.

Maran and Radia’s spokesperson could not be contacted for comments.