More people involved in 2G scam, says Raja’s lawyer


New Delhi : Former communications minister A. Raja’s defence counsel Thursday told the local court that his aides were not the only people involved in the scandal related to allocation of second generation (2G) airwaves to telecom players.

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Raja and his aides — former telecom secretary Siddharth Behura and personal secretary R.K. Chandolia — were presented before Special Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Judge O.P. Saini at the Patiala House court complex.

Defence counsel Ramesh Gupta, who appeared for Raja and Chandolia, submitted before the court that they were not the only people involved in the scam.

The CBI arrested Raja, a senior leader of government ally DMK, and two of his aides Wednesday on two counts — misuse of office in allocation of airwaves, a finite national resource, and amassing wealth higher than the known and legal sources of their income.

Raja was alleged to have misused his office and given away airwaves to telecom companies at below market rates.

The total loss to the government amounted to Rs.22,000 crore, the CBI said.

Raja was asked to resign Nov 14 last year after the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) indicted him in the spectrum (airwaves) allocation scam and for causing losses of between Rs.58,000 crore ($12.8 billion) and Rs.1.76 lakh crore ($40 billion) to the exchequer.

The issue dates to 2008 when nine telecom companies were issued scarce airwaves and licences for second generation mobile phone services at Rs.1,658 crore (less than $350 million) for pan-India operations. As many as 122 circle-wise licences were issued.