Hear me out: Raja goes to SC

Review Petition: Says basic principles of justice and fairplay ignored,he has answers to every charge in Feb 2 verdict

Written by Krishnadas Rajagopal | New Delhi | Published: March 3, 2012 1:47 am

Former telecom minister A Raja filed a review petition in the Supreme Court today,saying it had condemned him before he could prove his innocence in the trial. Raja asked the court how it could ignore the “basic principles of fair play” while indicting him in its February 2 verdict in the 2G case.

Raja,who has refused to apply for bail,said the apex court described him as one who “manipulated” the system,adopted “devious methods”,“brushed aside” and misrepresented facts to his higher ups in the UPA government,and bullied his ministry officials to grant 122 UAS licences and allocate spectrum to certain favoured private telcos on a first-come-first-served (FCFS) basis.

In a strongly worded judgment,the court had blamed Raja for ignoring the transparent alternative of auctioning the “scarce natural resource”.

In his petition,the former minister said there was every chance that his “indictment” by the Supreme Court would influence CBI Judge O P Saini.

“The findings of illegalities and favour against the petitioner are bound to prejudice his defence in the pending prosecution against him in the court of the Special Judge (CBI),” the petition said. This “fundamental point”,Raja said,is an “error apparent and goes to the root of the judgment”.

The February 2 judgment had confined itself to the civil liability of those involved in the grant of licences bundled with spectrum,and the beneficiaries of their decision. The special court will decide on criminal liability.

Raja said he was not convinced that the specific observation by Justices G S Singhvi and A K Ganguly (since retired) that their comments must not influence the trial court judge or investigators,would have an effect.

“This observation is of little avail. Having regard to the position of the Supreme Court as the highest court,it is most unlikely that a subordinate court will disregard them and form an independent view,” the petition,settled by senior advocate T R Andhyarjuna,stated.

On the other hand,Raja said,it would be a further anomaly if Judge Saini came up with “different or contrary findings” to the SC’s after hearing his defence during the trial.

Besides,Raja said,the observations and findings in the SC judgment were “bound to be now adopted and followed by government officials in their evidence to protect themselves”.

The SC had observed that Raja’s officers were cowed into approving the FCFS recommendations. “If they had not done so,they would have incurred the wrath of the minister,” the court had said.

Raja said he had an explanation for each of the adverse findings arrived at by the SC in its judgment.

“On each of the findings,the petitioner (Raja) had an explanation that his actions were legal,proper and without favour and some of them were made after consultation with the top legal officer of the government. No opportunity was given to the petitioner (to present his case),” the petition said.

It added that had the bench heard him,it would not have indicted him.

The SC listed several instances of impropriety by Raja,including disregarding a suggestion by the Prime Minister to ensure fairness and transparency.

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