Former telecom minister A Raja on Thursday continued to be on the receiving end of the Supreme Court’s wrath over alleged lapses in allocation of 2G spectrum in 2008.
A day after slamming Raja for overlooking the concerns raised by the Prime Minister and law minister on 2G-spectrum allocation, a bench of justice GS Singhvi and AK Ganguly faulted him for showing “disrespect” to the PM and “overruling” his advice to defer the allocation of 2G spectrum by a few days.
The bench took strong exception to the tone and tenor of Raja’s letter to the PM. “When you address a letter to the highest executive, the tenor of the language should be temperate. Here, it is a question of attitude,” the bench said referring to the use of words like “unfair, discriminatory, capricious and arbitrary” in the letter. “Look at the command of his language,” it commented.
Raja was forced to resign as telecom minister on November 14 in the wake of the CAG report indicting him for causing a loss of R1.76 lakh crore to the exchequer by not going for auction of 2G-spectrum.
The court also sought to know why the law ministry’s advice was ignored. “The letter of law ministry for taking opinion of AG was ignored. The PM’s letter was ignored. Is this the way the government functions?” it asked while hearing a petition for a probe into the scam. Raja had overruled the law ministry’s advice terming it “out of context”.
On behalf of the former telecom minister, advocate TR Andhyarujina contended that Raja did not ignore the law ministry’s opinion or PM’s advice.
“The question is what led him to say that the law ministry’s opinion was out of context… nothing could have happened if you would have waited for two-three days after receiving the letter from the PM,” the bench said.
As Andhyarujina said Raja showed no disrespect to the PM, the bench said: “Prima facie, he has shown disrespect... Look out at the gloss of the minister.” Then Andhyarujina said Raja “may be guilty of gloss but not disrespect”.
The bench said it would examine if vigilance commissioners could supervise the probe in view of CVC PJ Thomas’s recusal.