Former telecom secretary Siddhartha Behura, in jail for his alleged connection to the 2G spectrum scam, Thursday accused the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) of raising an unnecessary ‘hue and cry’ over the Tata group being refused a 2G licence initially.
The CBI had alleged that Tata, which applied for the licence March 4, 2008, had been eliminated in an unfair manner but the group had already admitted that they were late in filing the application. ‘Then why is the CBI accusing Behura?’ the former telecom secretary’s lawyer Aman Lekhi asked in the special CBI court.
‘I don’t understand why there is a hue and cry about Tata. Are they above law and different from other bidders? Does it not amount to corruption?’ Lekhi, speaking on Behura’s behalf, added.
He said it was deputy director general of telecom A.K. Srivastava who had supervised all the operations undertaken in issuing the licenses.
‘It was Srivastava who wrote a letter on Dec 26, 2007, mentioning the policy directive and saying that this would be treated as the final decision… It is on the record,’ said Lekhi.
‘How can Behura be accused of conspiracy? How does this appeal to common sense?’The lawyer also argued that it was the responsibility of the Wireless Planning and Coordination (WPC) wing of the telecom department to distribute the licenses and that Behura had no role to play in it.
‘Each ministry works with different departments and every department has its own set of responsibilities… How can he (Behura) be blamed for favouring Swan telecom when he had no role to play?’ asked Lekhi.
Behura had Wednesday said the government was responsible for the 2G ‘mess’.That statement came a day after jailed former communications minister A. Raja dragged Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and then finance minister and present Home Minister P. Chidambaram.
Behura was arrested Feb 2 for alleged involvement in the 2G scam. In the chargesheet filed April 2, he was accused of criminal conspiracy, cheating, forgery and criminal misconduct by a public servant.