NEW DELHI: The former telecom minister, A Raja Tuesday dragged the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh again in the 2G case, alleging he too could be held guilty of “conspiracy” and dereliction of duty for not forming a GoM to examine the spectrum allocation issue.
Raja’s submission before a court came just hours after the DMK MP said he did not seek to implicate Dr Manmohan Singh and former finance minister, Mr P Chidambaram in the 2G case on the basis of his arguments on Monday.
“Just because he (Prime Minister) ignored it, no GoM (Group of Ministers) was constituted. By that standard, the Prime Minister was also in conspiracy so far as dereliction of duty is concerned. It was his (PM’s) judgment that GoM was not required,” Raja said while concluding his arguments opposing the corruption and other penal charges against him.
Forty seven-year-old Raja, who is behind bars for nearly six months, said he deserves to be discharged from the case as the allegations against him are not established at all. He sought his “forthwith release” terming his judicial custody as an “illegal detention.”
Questioning as to why the Prime Minister did not form a GoM to examine the spectrum allocation issue, Raja told the special CBI judge, Mr O P Saini that the Prime Minister was superior to his client and he had the power to constitute the GoM, but he never felt the need to do it. Raja’s arguments were put forth by his counsel, Mr Sushil Kumar.
Earlier in the day, Raja pleaded to the court to make Mr Chidambaram a witness in the case. He also said he had not sought to implicate the Prime Minister or the Home Minister in the matter and put the blame on the media. Raja also vehemently denied forging any press release issued by the Department of Telecom in the 2G case, asserting that it was duly approved by the then Solicitor General (SG), Mr Goolam E Vahanvati.
Refuting allegations of any forgery in the press release, Raja made the arguments relating to SG personally, saying even Mr Vahanvati, before becoming a prosecution witness, had been defending it (the press release). Raja argued that Mr Vahanvati, now the Attorney General, has even appeared at various judicial fora in matters relating to 2G spectrum allocation. Raja also questioned the sanction to prosecute him, saying the same was flawed.
Slamming the CAG report, Raja also questioned the “presumptive loss” of Rs 1.76 lakh crore assessed by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) and termed it as “worthless,” saying “its computation is not even relied upon by the CBI.”
Seeking a direction to CBI to make Mr Chidambaram a witness in the case, Raja said the former finance minister was privy to the matter relating to dilution of equities by Swan Telecom and Unitech Wireless to foreign firms, Etisalat and Telenor, respectively. “The matters relating to dilution of equities to foreign firms by Swan Telecom and Unitech Wireless were known to the Prime Minister and then finance minister Chidambaram,” Raja said. He clarified that his statement on Monday about Dr Manmohan Singh and Mr Chidambaram being aware of the dilution of shares by telecom firms did not amount to making any allegation against them. “I am defending myself and not accusing anything against anybody. I am not after anybody,” he said.