Manmohan Singh was misled by A Raja in 2G scam: CBI tells court
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Manmohan Singh was misled by A Raja in 2G scam: CBI tells court

The Central Bureau of Investigation told a court hearing the 2G spectrum allocation scam case on Wednesday that former telecom minister A Raja had misled then prime minister Manmohan Singh on policy matters pertaining to the allotment.

india Updated: Apr 15, 2015 13:50 IST
HT Correspondent & Agencies
Central Bureau of Investigation,2G spectrum allocation,A Raja

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Wednesday argued before a special court that former telecom minister A Raja had "misled" the then prime minister Manmohan Singh on policy matters pertaining to allocation of 2G spectrum.

The case pertains to the 2G spectrum allocation in which Raja, DMK MP Kanimozhi and 15 others including some top corporate executives are facing trial.

The recording of evidence in the case had started on November 11, 2011 after the court had framed charges against the 17 accused named in the first two charge sheets filed by the agency.

In its charge sheet, the CBI had alleged that there was a loss of Rs 30,984 crore to the exchequer in allocation of 122 licences for 2G spectrum which were scrapped by the Supreme Court on February 2, 2012.

Special public prosecutor Anand Grover while beginning final arguments in the case said that Raja, conspiring with other accused, had advanced the cut-off date to favour accused firms in the allocation of 2G licences.

Grover argued that Raja had granted spectrum to "ineligible" companies like Swan Telecom Pvt Ltd (STPL) and Unitech Wireless (Tamil Nadu) Ltd.

He said that the first-come-first-serve (FCFS) policy was changed to favour some of the accused and Raja even rejected the proposal of the then law minister, who had proposed that some of the key policy issues be referred to the empowered group of ministers.

Referring to the letters written by Raja on November 2, 2007 to the then prime minister, Grover said, "He (Raja), in fact, misled him (Manmohan Singh) on FCFS and the cut-off date."

"Curious things happened in DoT (department of telecommunication) which showed that this (change in FCFS policy) was deliberately done to favour the accused," the prosecutor said.

Grover also argued that Raja had changed the cut-off date for receiving applications by the companies for grant of 2G licences to favour accused firms particularly Unitech Wireless (Tamil Nadu) Ltd.

On the issue of grant of licence to ineligible companies, the agency said that accused firm Swan Telecom Pvt Ltd was ineligible on the date of application for grant of radio waves as it was "actually owned by Tiger Traders Pvt Ltd through Reliance ADAG".

The final arguments in the case would continue on May 25, the next date of hearing.

The court has recorded statements of 154 CBI witnesses, including Reliance ADAG chief Anil Ambani, his wife Tina Ambani and former corporate lobbyist Niira Radia, running into over 4,400 pages in the case.

Besides Raja and Kanimozhi, former telecom secretary Siddharth Behura, Raja's erstwhile private secretary RK Chandolia, Swan Telecom promoters Shahid Usman Balwa and Vinod Goenka, Unitech Ltd MD Sanjay Chandra, three top executives of Reliance Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group (RADAG) -- Gautam Doshi, Surendra Pipara and Hari Nair -- are facing trial in the case.

Directors of Kusegaon Fruits and Vegetables Pvt Ltd Asif Balwa and Rajiv Agarwal, Kalaignar TV director Sharad Kumar and Bollywood producer Karim Morani are also accused in the case.

Besides these 14 accused persons, three telecom firms -- Swan Telecom Pvt Ltd (STPL), Reliance Telecom Ltd and Unitech Wireless (Tamil Nadu) Ltd -- are also facing trial in the case.

The court had on October 22, 2011, framed charges against them under various provisions of the IPC and the Prevention of Corruption Act dealing with offences of criminal conspiracy, cheating, forgery, faking documents, abusing official position, criminal misconduct by public servant and taking bribe.

The offences entail punishment ranging from six months in jail to life imprisonment.

The court had earlier said that out of 17, seven accused had not wished to lead evidence in their defence.

It had said Vinod Goenka, Swan Telecom (P) Limited (now Etisalat DB Telecom (P) Limited), Gautam Doshi, Reliance Telecom Ltd and Kanimozhi had mentioned in their statement under section 313 CrPC itself that they do not wish to lead defence evidence.

Later on, co-accused Balwa and Morani, who had earlier desired to lead defence evidence, did not examine any witness and their statements were recorded accordingly, the court had observed.

The court is also trying separate cases arising out of the probe into the 2G scam which allegedly involves promoters of Essar Group, Loop Telecom and others, Aircel-Maxis deal case and enforcement directorate's money laundering case.

First Published: Apr 15, 2015 11:30 IST