Former Telecom Minister and DMK leader A Raja said on Friday that the 2G spectrum case had “proved that the Supreme Court is not infallible”, the statement coming days after four Supreme Court judges held a press conference and aired their dissatisfaction with the functioning of the country’s apex court.
The Supreme Court in 2012 had cancelled 122 telecom licences allotted during Raja’s tenure in the ministry, stating in its order that he “wanted to favour some companies at the cost of the public exchequer”.
In an interview to The Indian Express, on the eve of his book launch ‘2G Saga Unfolds’, Raja said the CAG report that pegged the presumptive loss to the exchequer at Rs 1.76 lakh crore, was “simply endorsed by the Supreme Court” and documents that were submitted by the Department of Telecom as detailed counter-arguments “were not touched by the judges”.
He admitted that the current crisis in the Supreme Court had “nothing to do with his case”, but added that he had “often been quoted saying that the Supreme Court is always final, that does not mean it is infallible. I proved in this case that the Supreme Court is not infallible. I proved it through this book, with documents and through the trial court and through all evidence.”
Raja said that officers in the CBI, which investigated the case, asked after his arrest: “What is 2G?” He also suggested what the apex court should have done if it wanted to know what happened in 2G spectrum allocations. “…The wisest method should have been for the Supreme Court to appoint an SIT which, comprising some telecom expert, a former secretary, (also) have a person who did radio frequency PHD from IIT, a police officer and a legal brain,” Raja said.
There was no expert who looked into the case, the former minister said. “Who is the expert on 2G? Is it the Deputy Superintendent of Police, Inspector, Superintendent? That is why the judge (referring to CBI judge O P Saini) condemned, ridiculed the investigating officers. They very clearly came to a conclusion and they did a mistake because of the pressure of the Supreme Court, because of the pressure mounted by the media,” Raja said.
He said the sanctity of the CAG was “severely compromised” by Vinod Rai, the then Comptroller and Auditor-General. “I am saying broadly there was conspiracy… politically within or outside Congress… an astronomical figure was triggered by Vinod Rai…. With due respect, I can say this is some sort of administrative scoundrelism,” Raja said.
“Strictly speaking Vinod Rai should be prosecuted for breach of trust. Since he is enjoying constitutional immunity, at least a commission of inquiry should be initiated… to find out theconspiracy,” the DMK leader said.
Raja wrote in his book: “It is my conviction, consequent to the whole experience of the trial, there was some political motivation to kill UPA-II and Rai’s was the shoulder on which the gun was placed.” Raja did not spare the Congress, saying no one came to his rescue.
“Even if it was a Congress member, I do not think P. Chidambaram, Pranab Mukherjee, Manmohan Singh or H.R. Bhardwaj (then law minister) would have come to his rescue. The issue was that there was mounting pressure as the Supreme Court (was) passing unnecessary, unwarranted, sarcastic comments, (and) the CAG shifting every burden on to the minister, and the media (was) taking it up…. Nobody wanted to take responsibility in the UPA-II government,” he said.
In the last chapter of his book, Raja wrote: “It is indeed sad that in spite of having so many intelligence agencies and eminent legal minds at its disposal, the UPA II government could not sense this and only tried me to use as a shield but were still unable to escape the bullet.” Raja said his Dravidian ideology helped him fight the case.
“The ideology inculcates a fighting character where you know you have equal rights. You are a man, you are not a slave. You are not an untouchable, not socially backward. It provides vibrant thought and action.”
BJP’s TN chances Raja said the political ball would always be with one of the two Dravidian parties and rejected the BJP’s attempts to play the Hindutva card. “Will the Hindutva ideology be accepted by Tamil Nadu’s people. What is their vote bank? Not even 1,000.
In the absence of Jayalalithaa, I don’t think there is a leader in the AIADMK and because of the power remotely controlled by the BJP, the AIDMK is surviving now. Once the Assembly elections come up, they will be thrown out and the DMK will come to power,” Raja said. He also saw no political threat in either actors — Rajinikanth or Kamal Haasan. They did not stand a chance to win an election but they might create disruption, he said. “My reading is that our cadre will not go as they are philosophically and ideologically oriented.”
Sadick Batcha’s death Batcha was the promoter of real estate firm Green House Promoters who committed suicide in 2011. An application was moved in O P Saini’s court alleging that the death was a murder as Batcha wanted to become an approver. The judge, however, dismissed it, stating the allegations were “unfounded”. Raja said he was in the jail when he came to know about Batcha’s death. It was “very disturbing”, he said.
“Batcha was completely isolated. It was said that Rs 1.76 crore was parked in Gulf countries. He was completely isolated. His own close friends did not take his calls,” Raja said. The DMK leader recounted that Batcha had told the investigating agencies that he was just using “Raja’s name” as he was in the real estate business.
“The real estate business will have a lot of problems So you want to have the ruling party’s support. He wanted to show that Raja is behind us. Whether it is right or wrong I don’t want to go there. I also used his services. If I needed 1,000 (packets of) biryani for my cadre, I used to ask him. Nothing wrong in it,” Raja said.