2G transactions known to PM, Chidambaram: Raja

NEW DELHI: Former Telecom Minister and 2G accused A Raja on Monday dragged in the Prime Minister and then finance minister Chidambaram names while defending himself in court.

Defending himself before a special CBI court for the first time, Raja said that the Prime Minister was aware of the sale of equity by Swan and Unitech to foreign companies.

Raja said that Finance Minister, in the presence of the PM, had said that the sale of equity is not illegal and was to attract FDI.

Just followed NDA policies: Raja

Raja defended himself in the 2G spectrum scam case in CBI Special Court saying he followed NDA government’s telecom policy.

The 47-year-old DMK MP pleaded before Special CBI Judge O P Saini that there was nothing wrong in his decision of not auctioning 2G spectrum as he had "implemented only what I have inherited." He said that the decision of not auctioning spectrum was in continuity with the policy pursued by the NDA government.

Senior Advocate Sushil Kumar, appearing for Raja, said if Raja is being prosecuted for following a certain policy then all Telecom ministers since 1993 are liable to be prosecuted as they too followed the same policy.

He pointed out that Arun Shourie and Dayanidhi Maran too had distributed licences instead of auctioning them as telecom ministers. Raja, who’s been charged with cheating, forgery and criminal conspiracy in the case, said he should be rewarded and not prosecuted.

"If policy pursued by me was wrong, then all former Telecom ministers since 1993 should also be in jail with me (Raja)," the counsel said while opposing framing of charges against Raja.

He said, "As Telecom Minster Arun Shourie distributed 26 licences while Dayanidhi Maran distributed 25 and I (Raja) distributed 122 licences. Numbers make no difference, however, it is to be noted that none of them auctioned the spectrum.

"If they had done no wrong, why am I being questioned? Let them deny that they have 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," Raja said.

While defending his policy as telecom minister, Raja submitted that it is because of his policy that mobile phone call rates came down and they became affordable to even a ‘rickshaw wala’.

"It was my obligation to social justice that every man on the street should have a mobile phone. I am a servant of my people and I made the call rates of mobile phone so cheap that even a ‘rickshaw wala’ or a maid servant can be seen using it," Raja said.

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

The CBI had begun its arguments on framing of charges against Raja and 16 others, including three telecom firms, from July 21 and had completed its arguments on July 23.

Raja has been charged with cheating, forgery and criminal conspiracy in the case. All the 14 accused including DMK MP Kanimozhi are presently lodged in Tihar Jail.

Past Telecom ministers

Sukh Ram in Congress government from 1991 to 1996

Ram Vilas Paswan from 1999 to 2001

Pramod Mahajan in NDA government from 2001 to 2003

Dayanidhi Maran in UPA-I from 2004 to 2006

Raja was Telecom Minister from 2007 to 2009.(IBNLive)

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