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2G scam: Raja appears before CBI

New Delhi: Tainted former Telecom Minister A Raja on Friday handed himself to the CBI for questioning in connection with the 2G spectrum allocation scam.

As per reports, Raja, who arrived in the national capital Wednesday night, will be grilled by the CBI sleuths on the basis of evidence recovered from him and his key aides during the search.

The CBI is expected to question Raja on the statements made by R K Chandolia, his former personal secretary, A K Srivastava, then Deputy Director General, Access Service Wing, DoT, and other close associates whose residence were raided by the agency.

Besides Raja, CBI raids were conducted on the premises of R K Chandolia, Siddhartha Behuria, then DoT secretary, K Sridhar, then Member, Telecom Commission, A K Srivastava and his business partner Sadiqui Batcha, Managing Director of Chennai-based Greenhouse Exports.

Raja is also expected to be grilled by the agency sleuths regarding his family’s link with the Greenhouse Exports promoted by Sadiqui Batcha.

However, the CBI has made no arrests in the case so far.

On October 21, 2009, CBI registered a case against “unknown officials” of DoT, and unnamed private persons and companies for irregularities in allocation of 2G spectrum in January 2008. Its sluggish probe was recently criticized by the Supreme Court.

“There was criminal conspiracy between certain DoT officials and private companies and others to award licences to these companies by putting a cap on the number of applicants against recommendations of TRAI and by awarding licences to private companies on first come, first serve basis on 2001 rates without competitive bidding,” the CBI spokesperson said.

In all, 14 locations in Delhi and Chennai were raided, with dozens of CBI officials drafted for the exercise — the first visible step in unearthing the criminal conspiracy behind the spectrum allocation that has resulted in losses in the range of Rs 1.76 lakh crore to the exchequer.

Before, leaving for New Delhi, Raja yesterday promised to co-operate with the investigating agency and confirmed that he will be in Delhi for two days fuelling speculation of his questioning and likely arrest by the CBI.

The tainted DMK minister was on Monday issued summons along with corporate lobbyist Niira Radia to appear before the agency.

The Supreme Court has asked CBI and the Enforcement Directorate to submit status reports on their investigations into the 2G scam to it by February 10, when the 2G spectrum case will come up for hearing.

The Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) in its report to Parliament had said that the allocation of 2G spectrum at undervalued prices had resulted in the loss of Rs 1.76 lakh crore to the exchequer.

Supreme Court is closely monitoring the multi-agency probe in the allocation of 2G spectrum to certain telecom firms. It has criticised the CBI for its slow pace in the probe and had asked why none of the high-profile people including Raja has being questioned so far.

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