Citing parity, Raja seeks bail

A day before his 49th birthday, former telecom minister A Raja on Wednesday moved a bail application in a special CBI court after the Supreme Court granted bail to ex-telecom secretary Siddharth Behura in the 2G case. He sought bail on grounds of parity and said that he is 'innocent'.

'Except me, all the other accused have been released on bail,' Raja told Special Judge O P Saini. Raja is one of the 19 individuals accused in the case. However, Raja will have to spend his 49th birthday on Thursday in jail as the court has listed the case for hearing on Friday.

The court asked the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to file a reply on Raja's bail plea during the next hearing. 'The case against the petitioner is false and fabricated and is not sustainable in law or on facts. The petitioner is innocent and is likely to get acquitted,' said Raja's application.

The bail application was moved by Raja's counsel Manu Sharma and Babanjeet Singh saying that the petitioner was required to assist his advocates for the preparation of the case, which could not be effectively done if he remained in judicial custody. Raja said that the entire case was based on documents and there was no possibility of the evidence being tampered with. Most of the documents were seized by the CBI in October 2009.

'The trial in the case is proceeding smoothly on a day-to-day basis. More than 41 witnesses have been examined, more than 1,500 pages of evidence have been recorded and more than 100 documents have been exhibited,' said Raja.

He also mentioned in his plea that he was unable to put his case before the Public Accounts Committee of parliament and the Joint Parliamentary Committee, which were also taking note of the various aspects of the case.

Raja told the court that if granted bail he would not hamper the investigation of the case by misusing his liberty. Earlier, in an interview to IANS, Raja had said he was not very keen on getting out on bail as he would prefer to walk out of prison with 'clean hands' in the 2G controversy.

He resigned as minister 14 November 2010 in the wake of the Comptroller and Auditor General reporting that his 2008 decision to allocate 2G spectrum on a first-come-first-served basis had caused the exchequer a presumptive loss of Rs.1.76 lakh crore. The CBI arrested him 2 February 2011.

The Supreme Court in February cancelled 122 spectrum licences allocated during Raja's tenure. It also ruled that all natural resources should be allocated through an auction, which the government is now preparing to do in the case of the cancelled licences. 
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