New Delhi: Former Telecom Minister A Raja, who allegedly manipulated procedures in allocation of 2G Spectrum to favour some companies, was today arrested along with two officials, a week before CBI has to file its final probe report in the Supreme Court.
Former Telecom Secretary Siddartha Behura, a 1973 batch IAS officer of UP cadre, who has since retired, and Raja”s Personal Secretary R K Chandolia, a 1984 Indian Economic Service officer, were also arrested with the former Minister, all of whom were called to the CBI headquarters this morning.
The arrest of 47-year-old Raja, the dalit face of DMK, a crucial ally of the Congress at the Centre, comes almost two months after his resignation as minister in the wake of a Parliamentary storm over his continuance and Supreme court breathing down the government”s neck on investigations in the scam.
He was forced to resign after embarrassing details of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India”s report of a presumptive loss of Rs 1.76 lakh crore to the exchequer in the allocation of Spectrum in 2007-08 became public.
The arrest also comes two days after DMK Chief M Karunanidhi held discussions with Congress President Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to firm up the alliance between the two parties for the coming Assembly elections in Tamil Nadu.
Both the parties have ruled out Raja”s arrest having any impact on the political tie up between the two parties. “What has happened is law taking its course and it has nothing to do with the political alliance,” Congress spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi told reporters at the daily AICC briefing.
However, the opposition parties are unimpressed with the CBI action describing it as “too little, too late” facing the Supreme Court deadline and made it clear that they would not not resile from their demand for constitution of a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) to go into scam.
DMK”s arch rival AIADMK went a step further and demanded the arrest of corporate lobbyist Niira Radia and family members of Karunanidhi who had conversations with Radia.
The CBI had filed a case against unknown officials of Department of Telecom in October 2009 and conducted searches in the Ministry but focused on Raja only after his resignation. He has been questioned three times beginning December 24, 2010.