Economy

2G case: Raja drags in PM, Chidambaram

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on March 12, 2018

A file photo of Mr A. Raja, former Communications and IT Minister

Mr A. Raja, former Telecom Minister, dragged the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, and the then Finance Minister, Mr P. Chidambaram, into the 2G spectrum case.

Defending himself, Mr Raja, a DMK MP, submitted before the Special CBI Judge, Mr O. P. Saini, on Monday that the issue of sale of equity by spectrum licensees was discussed with them (the Prime Minister and the then Finance Minister).

Dilution of shares

Senior Advocate Mr Sushil Kumar, appearing for Mr Raja, who is now lodged in Tihar Jail, said that Mr Chidambaram had told the Prime Minister that the dilution of shares by the accused licensees to attract FDI (foreign direct investment) did not amount to sale of licence.

“The then Finance Minister who is now Home Minister had said in front of the Prime Minister that dilution of shares does not amount to sale of 2G licence as per the corporate law,” Mr Kumar said. He reportedly even said, “Let the Prime Minister deny this.”

Mr Raja held that, “When sale of equity does not amount to sale of licence, there is no question of earning profit. How can (then) be corruption there in this regard?”

He said there was nothing wrong in his decision of not auctioning 2G spectrum. He said he was merely following the policies pursued by his predecessors and the NDA Government.

“If the policy pursued by me was wrong, then all former Telecom Ministers since 1993 should also be in jail with me,” Mr Raja's counsel said while opposing the framing of charges against him.

On the action by his predecessors, Mr Raja said, “Telecom Minister Arun Shourie distributed 26 licences while Dayanidhi Maran distributed 25 and I (Raja) distributed 122 licences.

He also questioned the CBI's authority to decide on the loss to the exchequer due to the 2G spectrum allocation. “Who is CBI to decide the loss? Let the Government say so,” he said.

Sibal's defence of PM

Reacting to Mr Raja's deposition, the Telecom Minister, Mr Kapil Sibal, said the Prime Minister “knew that it was dilution of equity,” by way of issuing new shares, and there was no divestment of promoters' equity.

Published on July 25, 2011

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