2G transactions known to PM, Chidambaram: Raja


New Delhi : Transactions made in the allocation of 2G spectrum were known to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the then finance minister P. Chidambaram, former communications minister A. Raja alleged Monday.

Support TwoCircles

Raja’s counsel told Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Special Judge O.P. Saini that his client had not done anything wrong in his decision of not auctioning 2G spectrum and that he was merely following the policies pursued by his predecessors and the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government.

“The decision to increase the cap on foreign direct investment (FDI) from 49 percent to 74 percent was a cabinet decision of which prime minister was a part,” said Senior counsel Sushil Kumar, appearing for Raja.

“The matter (about sale of equity by spectrum licencees) was discussed between the prime minister and the then finance minister,” he submitted.

“The then finance minister, who is now home minister, had said in front of the prime minister that dilution of shares does not amount to sale of 2G licence as per the corporate law,” said Sushil Kumar.

Raja’s counsel stated that if my client was being prosecuted for following a certain policy then all telecom ministers since 1993 were liable to be prosecuted as they too followed the same policy.

“If the policy pursued by Raja was wrong, then all former telecom ministers since 1993 should also be lodged in jail,” said Sushil Kumar.

“As telecom minister Arun Shourie distributed 26 licences while Dayanidhi Maran distributed 25 and Raja distributed 122 licences,” he said, adding that the numbers made no difference.

It was to be noted that none of them auctioned the spectrum, he said.

“If they had done no wrong, why am I being questioned? Let them deny that they had not done what I did. I was just following the 2003 cabinet decision that is not to auction 2G spectrum. If I am following the law, I am not liable to be prosecuted. Infact, I should be rewarded,” said Raja.

Defending Raja, his counsel said that because of his policy mobile phone call rates came down.

“The CBI, however, is maintaining that when DB Realty gave its shares (in Swan Telecom) to bring in money, it amounted to sale and so is the case with Unitech (Wireless). But, when Tata Tele services gives its shares to bring in foreign direct investment, it, according to the CBI, does not amount to sale,” Raja’s counsel said.

“Telenor buying a stake in Unitech wireless and Etisalat buying a stake in DB Realty – the finance minister approved it in the presence of the prime minister. Let the PM deny it,” he said.

The CBI Saturday concluded its arguments on the framing of charges in the 2G phone spectrum case.

Fourteen accused and three companies are charged with causing a loss of Rs.30,984 crore to the exchequer by selling the scarce resource, also called radio frequency that helps carry telecom signals, to private players cheap.

Raja, who was arrested Feb 2 for his alleged role in the 2G scam, Monday began his arguments opposing charges of cheating, forgery and criminal conspiracy against him.

All the 14 accused, including DMK MP Kanimozhi, are presently lodged in Tihar Jail here.