New Delhi: Turning the heat on former Telecom Minister A Raja, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) carried out raids at his residences in Delhi and Chennai besides carrying out raids at the premises of seven of his key aides in connection with the 2G spectrum scam in Delhi and Chennai on Wednesday.
A team of about 80 CBI sleuths raided began the operations in the wee hours in Delhi and Chennai at the residences of 47-year-old Raja and the other officials.
The CBI team also raided the residence of Raja’s business partner in Chennai.
Raids are also on at the residences of Raja’s key aides RK Chandolia & S Behuria – in all 10 places are being raided in Delhi and Tamil Nadu.
Chandolia was the personal secy to A Raja at the time of the controversial allocation of 2G spectrum back in 2008, while Behuria was the telecom secretary.
Raids are also being carried out at the residences of former Department of Telecom Member K Sridhar and DoT Deputy Director General RK Srivastava.
CBI raids residence of top DoT officials
According to sources, the CBI also raided the residence of DoT directors RK Gupta and Vinod Kumar. The residence of DoT Deputy Director General PK Mittal was also raided.
Raja has been maintaining that he was ready for questioning by the CBI any time. The CBI sources said that the former minister would also be questioned during the process of searches.
“We have raided premises of five persons. The raids are still on. No arrests have been made,” said CBI Director A P Singh.
Houses of Raja’s relatives and associates in TN raided
The CBI also conducted searches at the premises of Raja relatives and associates in different parts of Tamil Nadu.
The raids, which started this morning, were being held at Raja’s house and the office of a trust run by his family in his native Perambalur district, residences of his relatives and associates in Chennai, official sources said.
The sources said Raja’s close aide Sadiq Basha was picked up by the CBI officials in Chennai for questioning.
A report from Tiruchirappalli said besides the raids in Perambalur, CBI sleuths were also conducting searches in the houses of Raja’s brother and and sister in Srirangam and Tiruvanaikaval in the district.
The raids come a day after Raja’s name surfaced in connection with an alleged attempt to influence a Madras High Court Judge in a criminal case. The court had suspended Chairman of Tamil Nadu Bar Council R K Chandramohan for allegedly attempting to influence the judge by taking Raja’s name last year, when he was Union Minister.
AIADMK demands Raja’s arrest
AIADMK demanded that Raja be arrested under the Prevention of Corruption Act. “It’s a belated action. But it is better late than never. The next logical step should be to arrest Raja under the PCA and interrogate him,” AIADMK leader V Maitreyan said.
Coming out in support of Raja, his party, DMK, said, “He is our party member. We will stand by him”. “Let CBI do its duty. Let them come out with their findings. We will see,” party spokesperson T K S Elangovan said.
The CBI action comes close on the heels of the Supreme Court coming down heavily on the CBI on November 22 for failing to question Raja and the Telecom Secretary in connection with the scam, saying it was “beating around the bush”.
The residence of Behura, who became Telecom Secretary on January one, 2008, was also searched. He was also asked questions about the licensing procedures.
Behura told CBI that licenses were handed over on January 10, 2008 and that the decision had already been taken, a statement he made to Public Accounts Committee of Parliament yesterday as well.
The questioning of Raja comes within days after the CBI informing the Supreme Court that it had transcribed nearly 6,000 telephone calls involving corporate lobbyist Niira Radia, Raja and others during which a purported mention about the allocation of spectrum was also made.