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HindustanTimes Thu,17 Apr 2014

Raja arrested, govt's image takes a beating
HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, February 02, 2011
First Published: 15:38 IST(2/2/2011)
Last Updated: 22:03 IST(2/2/2011)
File photo of former telecom minister A Raja.

Soon after Former telecom minister A Raja's arrest by the CBI on Wednesday, the BJP launched attack on the UPA-led government saying the action was too little too late, even as the Congress claimed his arrest an instance of law taking its own course. 

Former telecom minister A Raja was arrested along with his two former associates in connection with the 2G spectrum scam. CBI believes it has clinching evidence against Raja on two charges: he illegally favoured certain companies in granting spectrum and got monetary benefit.

Raja will be produced before a special CBI judge on Thursday at the Patiala House court complex in New Delhi.

CBI officials told Hindustan Times Raja was not cooperating with the investigation and was evading their questions.

The arrests come eight days before the CBI had to file a progress report before the Supreme Court on what progress it had made in its investigation into the 2G scam.

Incidentally, Congress president Sonia Gandhi met Tamil Nadu chief minister and Raja's party chief M Karunanidhi in New Delhi on Tuesday.

Raja arrived at the CBI headquarters on Wednesday morning, a day after his brother A K Perumal was questioned by the CBI about alleged funding of some front organisations owned by telecom companies which had been allocated spectrum from October 2007 to January 2008, official sources said.

Raja, his former personal secretary R K Chandolia and former telecom secretary Siddartha Behura were arrested for allegedly abusing their official position and manipulating the tendering procedures to benefit certain telecom companies in getting the spectrum.

The arrest of 47-year-old Raja, who has been questioned four times by the agency, comes over two months after he was forced to resign in the wake of the spectrum controversy.

Raja, who was questioned earlier on December 24 and 25 last year and January 31, was called to the CBI office this morning and quizzed before being arrested, the sources said.

The DMK MP had been confronted with some questions and documents recovered from the computers seized during searches conducted by the investigation agency earlier at his premises, the sources said.

He was also asked about his conversations with corporate lobbyist Niira Radia and the reasons for advancing the cut-off date of applying for license for spectrum allocation in 2007 by a week.

Raja was forced to resign on November 14 last year in the wake of the CAG report which held that the spectrum allocation at undervalued prices resulted in a notional loss of Rs. 1.76 lakh crore to the state exchequer.

He got the telecom portfolio on May 18, 2007 and was re-elected as a Member of the 15th Lok Sabha and continued as Telecom Minister from May 31, 2009, till November 14, 2010.

The Supreme Court has asked CBI and Enforcement Directorate to submit status reports on their investigations into the 2G spectrum case to it by February 10 when the case will come up for further hearing.

In its FIR, CBI mentioned the loss in spectrum allocation as Rs. 22,000 crore based on CVC findings which had referred the case to it.

CBI has also questioned former Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) chief Pradip Baijal, a 1966 batch IAS officer of Madhya Pradesh cadre, and former Telecom Secretary D S Mathur in connection with the case.

2G scam explained | TN politics heats up

(With PTI inputs)


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