Jailed former communications minister A. Raja’s former additional private secretary Aseervatham Achary Monday told a special court here that the DMK leader hatched the conspiracy on 2G spectrum licences much before he headed the ministry.
Achary, a key witness of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in the 2G case, while deposing before Special Judge O.P. Saini said Raja’s party colleague and MP Kanimozhi was also involved in the conspiracy.
They were close to each other and met each other regularly, he said.
He said that Unitech’s Sanjay Chandra, DB Group’s Shahid Usman Balwa and Vinod Goenka used to meet Raja, when he was environment and forests minister, in connection with clearance required for their real estate projects.
They visited Raja regularly and “were also in direct contact with his (then) private secretary R.K. Chandolia”, said Achary, adding that people connected with Swan Telecom also met the ex-minister.
He also pointed out that Raja helped Kalaignar TV in getting its bouquet of channels from the ministry of information and broadcasting.
He claimed that Raja, Kanimozhi, Shahid Balwa, Vinod Goenka and Sanjay Chandra were all part of the 2G conspiracy.
Achary earlier identified Raja’s signature in a letter written to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh advocating a first-come-first-served formula for the allocation of spectrum.
He told the court that the telecom minister granted network licences and spectrum at low prices to Unitech and Swan Telecom.
“Later Raja, then minister of communications, also tried to get the Kalaignar TV channel on the Tata Sky platform for which he was taking the help of corporate lobbyist Neera Radia, who was representing Tatas regarding matters related to Tatas in DOT (department of communications),” Achary said.
He said that he even received a call in Raja’s office in which Radia asked him to inform Raja, who was not in the office at that time, that she had sorted out the Kalaignar TV problem and Tata Sky people were looking for some capacity for it.
According to the government auditor, the 2G scam, allegedly masterminded by Raja, pertained to a biased distribution of mobile airwaves and operating licences, in lieu of kickbacks, to telecom firms that could have cost the treasury up to Rs.1.76 lakh crores in lost revenue.
The number of individuals accused in the case now stands at 19, while the companies against which charges have been framed add up to six.
Except for Raja and former telecom secretary Siddhartha Behura, other accused are now released on bail.