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Raja 'misled' Manmohan Singh on 2G policy matters: CBI to court

Raja misled Manmohan Singh on 2G policy matters: CBI to court
The agency said the favour was done to "ineligible" firms Unitech Wireless (Tamil Nadu) Ltd and Swan Telecom Pvt Ltd at the behest of Raja who changed first-come-first-served (FCFS) policy to suit them.

It said that cut-off date for receiving applications from applicants seeking radio waves was advanced to favour Unitech Wireless (Tamil Nadu) Ltd.

Special Public Prosecutor (SPP) Anand Grover told Special CBI Judge O P Saini that then Law Minister Hansraj Bhardwaj had proposed that some key policy issues be referred to the empowered group of ministers (EGoM) but Raja rejected the proposal and wrongly mentioned about it in the letter written to the then Prime Minister.

Referring to the letter written by Raja on November 2, 2007 to the then Prime Minister, Grover said, "He (Raja), infact, misled him (Manmohan Singh) on FCFS and cut-off date."

"Curious things happened in DoT (Department of Telecommunication) which showed that this (change in FCFS policy) was deliberately done to favour the accused," he said.

On the issue of grant of licences to ineligible companies, CBI said that accused firm Swan Telecom Pvt Ltd (STPL) was ineligible on the date of application for grant of radio waves as it was "actually owned by Tiger Traders Pvt Ltd through Reliance ADAG".

CBI also said that four-counter theory to allot letters of intent (LoIs) to the applicant firms was "deliberately" done to favour the accused and when some officers of DoT objected to it, they were transferred.

"It was arbitrary and there was an element of criminality in it," he said.

The final arguments in the case would continue on May 25, the next date of hearing.

During the arguments, Grover said there were six broader issues in the case, advancement of cut-off date, manipulation of FCFS policy, issue of dual technology, grant of spectrum to ineligible firms, incurring loss by not raising the entry fee and consideration of Rs 200 crore by corrupt practises.

On the issue of dual technology, the agency said that both STPL and Tata's had complied with the requisite conditions on the same day but due to the conspiracy, Raja did not process Tata's applications which "mysteriously disappeared" and was not traceable in the DoT.

The case pertains to the 2G spectrum allocation scam in which Raja, DMK MP Kanimozhi and 15 others including some top corporate executives are facing trial.

The recording of evidence in the case had started on November 11, 2011, after the court had framed charges against the 17 accused named in the first two charge sheets filed by the agency.

In its charge sheet, CBI had alleged that there was a loss of Rs 30,984 crore to the exchequer in allocation of 122 licences for 2G spectrum which were scrapped by the Supreme Court on February 2, 2012.

Besides Raja and Kanimozhi, former Telecom Secretary Siddharth Behura, Raja's erstwhile private secretary R K Chandolia, Swan Telecom promoters Shahid Usman Balwa and Vinod Goenka, Unitech Ltd MD Sanjay Chandra, three top executives of Reliance Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group (RADAG) -- Gautam Doshi, Surendra Pipara and Hari Nair -- are facing trial in the case.

Directors of Kusegaon Fruits and Vegetables Pvt Ltd Asif Balwa and Rajiv Agarwal, Kalaignar TV Director Sharad Kumar and Bollywood producer Karim Morani are also accused in the case.

Besides these 14 accused persons, three telecom firms -- Swan Telecom Pvt Ltd (STPL), Reliance Telecom Ltd and Unitech Wireless (Tamil Nadu) Ltd -- are also facing trial in the case.

The court had on October 22, 2011, framed charges against them under various provisions of the IPC and the Prevention of Corruption Act dealing with offences of criminal conspiracy, cheating,forgery, faking documents, abusing official position, criminal misconduct by public servant and taking bribe.

The offences entail punishment ranging from six months in jail to life imprisonment.
PTI

PTI

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