HC notice to CBI on Raja’s plea against charge-framing order

Published on Jul 09 2012 // Political News

New Delhi, Jul 9: The Delhi High Court today sought CBI’s stand on former Telecommunication Minister A Raja’s plea challenging the trial court’s order on framing of charges against him in the 2G spectrum allocation case.

Justice AK Pathak issued notice to the CBI and sought its reply by Sept 6, the date slated for hearing of similar pleas of other accused persons.

Raja, who was arrested in Feb 2011 and spent 15 months in prison before getting bail in May, contended in his petition that the CBI investigations were biased and also the special CBI judge, hearing the case, has erred in holding that there was illegality in the manner spectrum allocated.

Raja, a DMK MP, also alleged that the charge sheet filed in the case shows a bias in the investigations as it remained silent on the licenses issued during 2003-2007.

“During the period 2003-2007, a total of 51 licenses were issued by the DoT (Department of Telecommunication). These were issued on the same terms and conditions as those issued by the DoT under the petitioner in the year 2008.

“Yet the charge sheet has chosen to remain silent on this aspect, which shows the bias in its investigation. The special judge has also ignored this aspect altogether, which is a grave error,” Raja said in his petition.

He further contended that the CBI special judge has failed to appreciate that his decisions as telecom minister on issues relating to allotment and pricing of 2G spectrum were fully in conformity with the department’s consistent policy.

Raja claimed the successive governments have chosen to allocate telecom licences and spectrum on a basis other than revenue maximisation.

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), the telecom watchdog, has consistently taken the view that revenue generation should not be a major determinant of the policy governing the telecom sector, Raja said in his petition.

“There was a conscious decision taken by the successive governments to maintain the entry fee at 2001 levels, based on consistent recommendations of TRAI to this effect. The petitioner has merely followed the decisions of his predecessors in this regard.

“If the petitioner has to be charged with cheating, then each and every minister of communication and IT since 2003 also must face the same charge. In fact, it is to be noted that these were not decisions of the minister alone but were backed by successive cabinets,” he submitted.

“The trial court failed to appreciate that the Central government, who is the alleged victim of the cheating, has consistently maintained in public and in Parliament that the loss caused by the so-called 2G scam is nil,” Raja said.

Claiming that the gain to the public as a result of the government policy during his tenure as minister was real and tangible, Raja said adding that there was no incriminating evidence against him and the trial court erred in holding that a bribe of Rs 200 crore was paid to him.

Raja had resigned as minister in Nov 14, 2010 in the wake of the Comptroller and Auditor General report that his 2008 decision to grant spectrum on the first-come-first-served basis had caused a presumptive loss of Rs 1.76 lakh crore to the exchequer.

The CBI arrested him Feb 2, 2011. He was charged with offences like cheating, forgery and criminal conspiracy under the Indian Penal Code besides various offences of corruption under the Prevention of Corruption Act.

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