Had informed SG about cut-off date: Raja tells court

A RajaFormer Telecom Minister A Raja on Wednesday told a Delhi court that the then Solicitor General (SG) G E Vahanvati was informed that applications seeking 2G spectrum licence received till September 25, 2007 only would be processed by the Department of Telecommunications (DoT).

Deposing as a witness to defend himself in the ongoing 2G case trial, Raja denied the suggestion of CBI prosecutor that pages of the DoT’s note sheet regarding cut-off date were only meant for internal consumption of the department and not for SG.

“It was brought to the notice of the learned SG through the note sheet…, where it was clearly mentioned that 575 applications were received by the department, and that the applications received upto September 25, 2007 were going to be taken for processing for issuing LOI.

“Though the date of October 1, 2007 is not mentioned in the file. However, the number of applications received upto October 1, 2007 have been mentioned …,” Raja told Special CBI Judge O P Saini.

Raja, whose cross examination will continue tomorrow, had yesterday said that the decision about the cut-off date of September 25, 2007 for processing of applications seeking 2G spectrum licence was taken after “due deliberations” in DoT.

He had denied the suggestion of CBI prosecutor that he had decided the cut-off date of September 25, 2007 without any basis.

CBI, in its charge sheet, had alleged that in order to favour Unitech and Swan Telecom, Raja unilaterally advanced the cut-off date from October 1, 2007 to September 25, 2007 for processing applications for grant of 2G licences and had ignored various authorities including the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India, the Law Ministry and the Prime Minister’s Office.

CBI, in its charge sheet filed on April 2, 2011, had said, “the investigation has revealed that even though this cut-off date of October 1 had been announced, accused Raja, in conspiracy with other accused, had already taken a view to keep the cut-off date as September 25.”

Raja is facing trial in the case along with former Telecom Secretary Siddhartha Behura, DMK MP Kanimozhi, Swan Telecom promoters Shahid Usman Balwa and Vinod Goenka, Unitech Ltd MD Sanjay Chandra, Reliance ADAG executives Gautam Doshi, Surendra Pipara and Hari Nair.

Besides them, Bollywood producer Karim Morani, Kalaignar TV Managing Director Sharad Kumar and Directors of Kusegaon Fruits and Vegetables Pvt Ltd, Asif Balwa and Rajiv Agarwal, are also facing trial in the case.

Besides these 14 accused, three telecom firms– Swan Telecom Pvt Ltd, Reliance Telecom Ltd and Unitech Wireless (Tamil Nadu) Pvt Ltd– are also accused in the case.

The court had on October 22, 2011 framed charges against them under various provisions of the IPC and the Prevention of Corruption Act dealing with offences of criminal conspiracy, cheating, forgery, faking documents, abusing official position, criminal misconduct by public servant and taking bribe.
(Source: PTI)

2G: Raja accepts meeting Radia at his residence

2g1Former Telecom Minister A Raja, an accused in the 2G case, on Monday accepted having met former corporate lobbyist Niira Radia along with then Tata group chairman Ratan Tata at his residence in connection with work of Tata group, but categorically denied having any telephonic conversation with her.

“I met her once or twice along with Ratan Tata and thereafter, met her a few times, both in the Ministry of Environment and Forests as well as in the Ministry of Communications & Information Technology (MOC&IT),” Raja told Special CBI Judge O P Saini while deposing as a witness to defend himself in the ongoing trial in 2G case.

“In both the Ministries, she came to meet me. She used to visit me in connection with work of Tata group. She met me once at my house along with Ratan Tata. “I am not able to recollect if I had any telephonic conversation with her from my side.

I am unable to I recollect exactly if she ever called me. I am sure that I myself never called her,” said Raja while being cross-examined by special public prosecutor U U Lalit, who asked if he has ever met Radia or not.

In July last year, while deposing as a prosecution witness, Radia had told the court that she had telephonic conversation about Cabinet formation with Raja and had attended meetings on behalf of Tatas with him at his residential office here during November 2008.

On being asked whether he was aware of Kalaignar TV, the DMK leader said that he was aware of it as a viewer and did not know its shareholding pattern. “I am aware as a viewer and watching Kalaignar TV (P) Limited since the time it was launched. It was launched in 2007.

I do not know who launched this channel. I am not aware of the management of Kalaignar TV,” Raja, whose cross- examination was deferred for tomorrow after he complained of being unwell, said. PTI

(Source: PTI)

2G: Not involved in Rs 200 crtransaction: A Raja

A RajaFormer Telecom Minister A Raja, an accused in a 2G scam-related money laundering case, today told a special court that he was not involved in the Rs 200 crore transaction, which as per the Enforcement Directorate (ED) was a bribe given to DMK-run Kalaignar TV by DB Group company.

Arguing on the bail application filed by Raja as well as on framing of charges in the case, advocate Manu Sharma, who appeared for him, said the DMK leader was earlier granted bail in the CBI’s 2G spectrum allocation case and he has been attending court proceedings keeping aside his political commitments.

“I (Raja) am facing trial in a separate (CBI’s) case in 2G spectrum allocation case. I was granted bail in that case and my conduct has been good and I am attending court proceedings by putting my political commitments on the back burner,” Raja’s counsel told Special CBI Judge O P Saini.

His counsel also contended that there was no evidence in the case and it was a “mere coincidence” that he was a member of the DMK and his party had planned to start Kalaignar TV.

“How the prosecution (ED) can say that I have knowledge of transaction taking place back and forth. How do I know this transaction. How am I actually involved,” he said, adding, “It is an unhappy coincidence that I belong to that party (DMK).”

ED had filed a charge sheet against 19 accused, including Raja and DMK MP Kanimozhi, claiming that the transaction of Rs 200 crore, which was allegedly paid to Kalaignar TV, was not genuine” and it was a “bribe for grant of telecom licences to DB Group companies”.

During the hearing, Raja’s counsel argued that his client has been allowed to depose as a witness to defend himself in the CBI case and if he would be taken into custody, “the whole process of being examined as defence witness will be disrupted.”

During the proceedings, the court also heard arguments advanced by the lawyers representing some of the co-accused in the case.

(Source: PTI)

 

SC rejects Swamy’s plea against Chidambaram

The Supreme Court has dismissed a plea by BJP leader Subramanian Swamy seeking the prosecution of Finance Minister P. Chidambaram along with former telecom minister A. Raja in the 2G case.

Dismissing the curative petition, the apex court bench of Chief Justice P. Sathasivam, Justice G.S. Singhvi, Justice R.M. Lodha and Justice K.S. Radhakrishnan said: “No case is made out….”

The judges took up the matter in their chamber. The curative petition was dismissed Sep 19, but the order was made available Tuesday.

Swamy filed the petition alleging fundamental errors in Dec 24, 2012 court judgment which dismissed his plea seeking to make Chidambaram a co-accused in the case.

The court had then said that no materials were made available even for “a prima facie conclusion” that Chidambaram had “abused his official position, or used any corrupt or illegal means for obtaining any pecuniary advantage for himself or any other persons, including Raja”.

(Souce: IANS)

Raja’s letter to PM not based on discussion with me: AG

Here in Delhi court  the Attorney General G E Vahanvati told that former Telecom Minister A Raja‘s letter to the Prime Minister regarding the DoT’s policy to be adopted for 2G spectrum allocation was not based on discussion with him and the then External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee.

He said the contents of Raja’s December 26, 2007 letter to the PM regarding discussion with him as the then Solicitor General and Mukherjee on the policy were ‘not correct’.

“It is wrong to suggest that what was communicated to the Prime Minister as future course of action was based on the discussion with the then Minister for External Affairs (Mukherjee) and me.

“The contents of this letter to the effect that ‘the discussions with the Minister for External Affairs and Solicitor General of India have further enlightened me to take further preemptive and proactive decisions on these issues’ are not correct,” Vahanvati, who was deposing as a witness in the 2G spectrum case, told Special Judge O P Saini during his cross examination by Raja’s counsel Sushil Kumar.

On being shown an annexure appended to the letter by Special Public Prosecutor U U Lalit, Vahanvati clarified that the issues mentioned in it were not discussed in the meeting in the first week of December 2007 with Mukherjee.

“I wish to clarify that the issues mentioned in the annexure to this letter were not discussed with the then Minister for External Affairs during the meeting as referred to by me above. I also wish to add that what is being referred to in this annexure as being concurred by me had not been concurred by me,” he told.

Vahanvati’s statement assumes significance as the CBI, in its charge sheet, had alleged that Raja had written the letter to the PM on December 26, 2007 and had “intentionally and deliberately misrepresented the facts about first-come-first serve policy…”

2G case: Court lets Raja visit Tamil Nadu

In the 2G spectrum allocation case trial facing Former Telecom Minister A Raja, allowed by a court of Delhi to visit Tamil Nadu till November 25. Permission to visit Tamil Nadu on his plea has been given by Special CBI Judge O P Saini, after it was not opposed by the CBI.

The court also allowed the plea of Swan Telecom promoter and 2G case accused Vinod Goenka to visit Sri Lanka from November 26 to November 28 for business purposes. Raja sought permission to visit his native place because the court, while granting him bail on May 15 this year, had stipulated that he would not visit his home state without its prior permission.

“Accused A Raja has filed an application for permission to visit Tamil Nadu from November 23 till the night of November 25, 2012. “Senior Public Prosecutor has no objection to the prayer. Prayer allowed.

According to the judge, “Accused A Raja is permitted to visit Tamil Nadu.”

The court had granted bail to the 49-year-old DMK MP and had directed him not to visit the Department of Telecom (DoT), which he had presided over as minister, and not to make any inducement, threat or promise, either directly or indirectly, to any person linked to the case. Raja, along with DMK MP Kanimozhi and others, is facing trial for offences punishable under various provisions of the IPC and the Prevention of Corruption Act dealing with offences of criminal conspiracy, cheating, forgery, faking documents, abusing official position, criminal misconduct by public servant and taking bribe.

2G case: RBI Governor D Subbarao deposes in court

In a Delhi court RBI Governor D Subbarao deposed  as a prosecution witness in the 2G case, saying he had questioned in 2007 the spectrum fee of around Rs1600 crore for pan-India licence.

From April 2007 to September 2008 Subbarao was the finance secretary, is a key witness in the case in which former telecom minister A Raja and others are facing trial.

During the recording of his statement, Subbarao told the court that he had written a letter on November 22, 2007 to the then telecom secretary D S Mathur in which he had questioned the spectrum fee of around Rs1600 crore for pan India licence.

He said that he had also questioned as to how the spectrum fee of Rs1600 crore, which was fixed in 2001, could be applied in 2007.

He told Special CBI Judge O P Saini, “I also questioned how the rate of Rs1600 crore, determined in as far as back in 2001, could be applied for licences given in 2007.”

CBI prosecutor A K Singh also showed various files and notes of various departments concerned, including that of Department of Telecom and Ministry of Finance, to Subbarao during the recording of his statement which is likely to continue throughout the day.

Till November 11, the court had recorded statements of 77 CBI witnesses in the case in which Raja is the key accused.

Besides Raja, DMK MP Kanimozhi, former Telecom Secretary Siddharth Behura, Raja’s erstwhile private secretary R K Chandolia, Swan Telecom promoters Shahid Usman Balwa and Vinod Goenka, Unitech Ltd MD Sanjay Chandra, three top executives of Reliance Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group (RADAG) — Gautam Doshi, Surendra Pipara and Hari Nair — are facing trial in the case.

Directors of Kusegaon Fruits and Vegetables Pvt Ltd Asif Balwa and Rajiv Agarwal, Kalaignar TV director Sharad Kumar and Bollywood producer Karim Morani are also accused in the case.

Former telecom minister A. Raja gets bail

After 15 months in jail, former telecom minister A Raja is back at home. He was welcomed with the traditional aarti and bursting of crackers; supporters from his DMK party also shouted slogans. Dinner for 200 people was organised at his home in Delhi for a grand welcome for the man accused of crafting and implementing India’s biggest scam.

Minutes before he was granted bail in a Delhi court, Mr Raja told NDTV’s reporters that he didn’t expect a favourable verdict. His wife, standing next to him, whispered prayers in Tamil as the judgement was delivered. Mr Raja was told he could go home, but he will need court permission to visit his home state of Tamil Nadu, or his former office, the Department of Telecom.

 

Rapturous supporters of Mr Raja cheered at court; the former minister blew kisses at them.

 

The judge accepted that Mr Raja should be treated at par with 13 others accused of conspiring with him in the telecom scam; they have all been granted bail already. The judge rejected the CBI’s argument that Mr Raja could try to influence witnesses to tamper with evidence. “The case is going on for more than a year and no such incident has been brought to my notice,” Judge OP Saini said. “I’m of the opinion that further detention of the accused would not serve any purpose,” he added.

 

Mr Raja, a popular and charismatic Dalit leader from the DMK, has been supported through his imprisonment by party president M Karunanidhi. That could be partly because Mr Karunanidhi’s daughter, Kanimozhi, has spent several months in prison for the telecom scam. She has been accused of helping Mr Raja receive a kickback from one of the telecoms that he allegedly favoured. “I am happy. We support Raja. He has been an active member and we will continue to back him,” Mr Karunanidhi said this evening. Another DMK leader, TKS Elangovan, made it clear that Mr Raja remains the Propaganda Secretary of the party.

 

The charges against Mr Raja are hefty. For allegedly giving away licenses at dirt-cheap rates to companies that were ineligible, he has been accused of breach of trust by a public servant – a charge that could see him getting a life sentence if he is found guilty. He has said he is innocent, and that the Prime Minister and then Finance Minister P Chidambaram were aware of the policies he was implementing in 2008. But earlier this year, the Supreme Court cancelled 122 mobile network licenses issued by Mr Raja in 2008. The judges said that the first-come-first-serve policy followed by Mr Raja had been distorted to help companies he favoured – these allegedly include Reliance Telecom and Unitech Wireless, among the country’s biggest mobile service operators. The court also said that the first-come-first-serve policy cannot be used for national resources- a decision which has led to the government formally seeking more clarity since it would affect how mining licenses, for example, are distributed.

 

The telecom scam has determinedly dogged the UPA coalition, of which Mr Raja’s party is a member. The government’s auditor controversially said that the swindle has cost the country 1.76 lakh crores. The opposition has alleged that it exposes the voluptuous corruption within the government, and that the Prime Minister and Mr Chidambaram cannot abdicate responsibility for allowing, through non-interference, Mr Raja to execute his conspiracy. “Mr Raja is a small fish. There are bigger names that need to be caught,” said the BJP’s Shahnawaz Husain today.

Did not depose falsely against Raja: Ex-telecom secretary

Former telecom secretary DS Mathur Tuesday told a special Delhi court hearing the 2G case that he did not depose falsely against former telecom minister A Raja.

“It is wrong to suggest that I have deposed falsely against accused A Raja,” said Mathur before Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Special Judge OP Saini. He added that he was not under pressure to do so.

Testifying as a CBI witness, Muthur said that it was wrong to suggest that no meeting was held with the minister in October 2007 over the issue of telecom licences.

He said that the auctioning the 2G mobile airwaves and operating licences was suggested at a meeting in October 2007 between the members of telecom commission and minister Raja.

“It is wrong to suggest that no note was put before the minister through me in consequence of that meeting,” replied Mathur, while being cross-examined by Raja’s counsel Sushil Kumar.

Mathur said: “I raised the issues of availability of spectrum for the new applicants only as the numbers of applications was very large.”

He will be cross-examined on Wednesday by counsel of accused and former telecom secretary Siddharth Behura.

According to the government auditor, the 2G spectrum allocation case pertained to 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 crore in lost revenue.

Nineteen individuals and six companies are accused in the case. Except for Raja and Behura, all other arrested accused have been released on bail.

 

 

2G case: CBI to file more documents

The CBI was Tuesday allowed by a special court here to present additional documents in the 2G case.

Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Special Judge O.P. Saini accepted the application of the probe agency amid protests by defence counsel.

Defence counsel opposed CBI’s plea saying that it would prejudice the case against the accused.

DB Realty managing director Vinod Goenka’s defence counsel Majid Memon said: “The CBI is creating an unnecessary hurdle in smooth functioning of this trial.”

Public Prosecutor A.K. Singh said whenever investigating officers felt the necessity of placing additional documents, they do so for the interest of justice.

He said that the copies of the document were supplied to the accused so these would not prejudice their case.

The CBI has alleged that former telecom minister A. Raja allotted the second generation (2G) radiowaves in an arbitrary manner and caused a huge loss to the government exchequer.

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 crore in lost revenue.

Nineteen individuals and six companies are accused in the case. Except for Raja and Behura, all other arrested accused have been released on bail.