Clamour for Raja's removal grows over 2G spectrum fiasco
Telecom Minister A Raja was again in the eye of a storm in the wake of the 3G spectrum auction bringing much revenue to the government as against the 2G allocation, with the Left parties demanding his sacking.delhi Updated: May 20, 2010 23:48 IST
Telecom Minister A Raja was again in the eye of a storm in the wake of the 3G spectrum auction bringing much revenue to the government as against the 2G allocation, with the Left parties demanding his sacking.
The BJP was almost equally harsh on Raja, accusing him of "corruption and nepotism" to favour some companies in 2G spectrum and sought a clarification from the Prime Minister on the issue.
However, the Congress rose to Raja's defence, saying 2G spectrum allocation had been done as per "recommendations and guidelines of TRAI" and no wrong had been committed.
In a statement, the CPI(M) Polit Bureau said "the outcome of the 3G spectrum auction convincingly proves that Union Communication Minister A Raja was clearly involved in corrupt practices by selling 2G spectrum to some industrialists by manipulating TRAI recommendations.
"Whereas 3G spectrum could fetch Rs 70,000 crore, 2G spectrum was sold at a paltry sum of Rs 2,000 crore only. Raja had done so by blatantly violating the law causing a huge loss to the public exchequer," it said.
The CPI(M) demanded Raja resign immediately.
BJP spokesperson Nirmala Sitharaman described Raja's statement that difference between 2G and 3G spectrum is a difference between PDS rice and the Basmati rice as "astonishing".
Alleging that 2G spectrum went "for a song" as borne out by the auction of 3G which realised an amount of Rs 67,710 crore against Rs 1,651 crore for the former, BJP demanded a clarification from Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Raja's role in the earlier auction.
"How fair is the Prime Minister's silence on this issue? How long will the Prime Minister look the other way and pretend that nothing has happened?... Only an FIR was filed by CBI in the case and chargesheet has not been filed as yet. 3G has only proved that the minister indulged in wrong practices," Sitharaman said.
But Congress stood by the minister.
"BJP and the Left are misleading the country... They are making stories. No wrong has been committed. The spectrum allocation (in 2G) was as per the various guidelines and recommendations of the TRAI," party spokesman Manish Tewari told reporters in New Delhi.