Former Telecom Minister A Raja today cross examined a former senior DoT official,a key witness in the 2G case,accusing him of being “under pressure of the CBI” to depose “falsely” on certain crucial aspects of the case.
Raja’s lawyer Sushil Kumar,who was cross-examining A K Srivastava,a former Deputy Director General(AS) of Department of Telecom (DoT),asked him why he had not told the CBI earlier that Chandolia,the then private secretary of Raja,had asked him whether Unitech Group’s applications have been received by the department.
“In your statement before this court dated August 1,2012,you had stated that Chandolia asked me whether applications of Unitech Group have been received. However,this does not figure in your statements to the CBI recorded till March 4,2011,” Kumar asked the witness.
Raja’s counsel also questioned Srivastava that he had deposed in the court that Chandolia had told him that Unitech Group’s application would be submitted to DoT but he had not said this to the CBI in his statements recorded till March 21,2011 by the agency.
Srivastava,however,denied Raja’s accusations saying that the fact relating to Chandolia asking him about Unitech Group’s applications was “explained to CBI” by him.
“The fact was explained to CBI when investigating officer (IO) asked it. It is wrong to suggest that I have deposed about these two facts before this court under pressure of the CBI,” Srivastava told Special CBI Judge O P Saini,adding “it is wrong to suggest that I am deposing falsely.”
Srivastava had earlier deposed that Chandolia had asked him to stop receiving new applications for 2G spectrum licences once the Unitech Group firms submit them.
Raja,Chandolia and Unitech Wireless (Tamil Nadu) Ltd,along with others,are facing trial in the 2G case.
The CBI,its charge sheet,had said that in pursuance of a conspiracy to favour telecom firms,Unitech Wireless (Tamil Nadu) Ltd and Swan Telecom,Raja had decided to accept applications filed with DoT till September 25,2007 only.
During his cross-examination,when Srivastava was shown a DoT’s note of November 12,2007,he said that it was recorded by him that the letters of intent (LOIs) were to be issued simultaneously to all the applicants who had submitted their applications till September 25,2007,as discussed with the then telecom secretary and Raja.
He testified that in October-November 2007,the number of applications received by the DoT for 2G spectrum licences was “quite large” and the earlier procedure of processing of one application at a time and consequent extension of time would have led to inordinate delay.
Srivastava said he did not know what basis Raja had taken decision dated November 2,2007 for grant of Unified Access Service (UAS) licences to the applications received up to September 25,2007.
He rejected Raja’s suggestion that Justice Shiv Raj Patil Committee,constituted to go into the alleged irregularity committed in allotment of 2G licences,had “indicted” him on seven counts including the issue of fixation of September 25,2007 as the date of processing of applications.
He said his house and office was searched by the CBI on December 8,2010 and the agency had taken some documents pertaining to construction of his house,income tax,saving instruments and others. He said these documents are still in the CBI’s possession.
Srivastava said he did not know who is competent to constitute an Empowered Group of Ministers (EGoM) but it is constituted at the request of the concerned Ministry or by the PMO/ Cabinet Secretariat on their own.
Raja and DMK MP Kanimozhi,along with others,are facing trial for various offences like criminal conspiracy,cheating,forgery and faking documents under the Indian Penal Code and for the offences of abusing official position,getting bribe and criminal misconduct by public servant under the Prevention of Corruption Act.