R K Chandolia,former private secretary to A Raja,today told a Delhi court that he was only following the instructions of the minister and instead of him,CBI should implead Tata and corporate lobbyist Niira Radia as accused in the 2G spectrum case.
Referring from case records,Chandolia told Special CBI Judge O P Saini that it was Aseervatham Achary,an associate of the minister,who had conspired to bring DMK-run Kalaignar TV on the Tata Sky DTH bouquet by acting as a conduit between Raja and Radia.
Seeking discharge from the case on the ground that he was merely following diktats of his master without any motive,his advocate Vijay Agarwal said: During conversations,when Radia referred to the deal,nowhere does Achary ask her what she was talking about. This shows that he (Achary) was well aware of the deal between KTv and Tata being pursued by Raja.
Going by this,Tata,Radia,Achary and KTv should all be made accused in the case. Tata and Radia are big people and CBI cannot touch them but why not Achary.
Deals are being struck between Radia and Tata through Achary who is a conduit… Why are they not in jail when I am in jail even when I have no involvement in the matter? he asked.
Initiating arguments,Agarwal claimed he was not associated with the DMK,Kalaignar TV or any other telecom company and asked the probe agency to produce a single document where he has put in his signature.
Earlier,Raja and former Telecom secretary Siddhartha Behura attempted to drag the Prime Minister,then Finance Minister P Chiadambaram,RBI Governor D Subbarao,Attorney General G E Vahanvati and others in the case.
The Special Judge rejected Chandolia’s plea challenging validity of sanction to prosecute for offences of criminal conspiracy and cheating under the IPC.
Agarwal referred to excerpts of infamous Radia tapes to drive home the point that it was Achary who knew about details regarding bringing KTv on Tata Sky bouquet.
As and when directed by Raja,Achary used to connect him to Radia as the minister helped the KTv for pursuing the matter of bouquet of channels on Tata Sky with the help of the lobbyist who has been made a witness, he said.
A Raja was the minister and my master. I merely carried out his instructions. I was his (Raja’s) sophisticated helper. I am only an extra assisting hand to carry out instructions of my master. Can I question my master? How can an assisting staff be roped in by the CBI? the lawyer asked.
Chandolia denied helping Raja in drafting letters,written to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on November 2 and December 26,which allegedly misled the PMO and brought about criminal changes in the first-come-first served policy.
CBI is following the policy that if the postman has delivered a wrong news,he should be shot dead, he said.
The lawyer attempted to trash allegations by CBI that Chandolia and Behura,who were in the Ministry of Environment and Forests along with Raja,were brought in the Telecom Ministry to execute the nefarious designs of the DMK leader in the spectrum allocation.
If that is the case,then Achary knew Raja for past 12 years and assisted him in three ministries and knew Tamil also and it is common knowledge that two persons get closer when they speak the same language, he said.
The lawyer for Chandolia,who would continue his arguments tomorrow also,said it was Shridhar,member of the Telecom Commission on Technology,who had assisted Raja in drafting a letter to the Prime Minister on November 2,2007.
On the night of November 2,… Shridhar was also present to take turns to type the letter. Raja was dictating the letter and taking assistance from Sridhar as and when
required. Around 11 pm the letter was finalized and sent to the PMO at 11:30 pm.
If Raja and I were hatching a conspiracy,then why should the minister have called Shridhar and when Raja was seeking assistance from Sridhar then he should also be made an accused, Agarwal said.
So far as the letter (of December 26),in which Raja allegedly informed the PMO about changes in the FCFS policy,was concerned,the minister asked me to send it to the PMO and I merely took a note to be annexed to that letter in a pen drive,he said.
Chandolia denied his role in getting two officials of the Department of Telecom (DoT) transferred as they were allegedly not processing the files of Swan Telecom as desired by Raja.
R P Aggarwal,accused of pressurizing DoT officials on my behalf,to move files of Swan Telecom. Then why has he been made a witness and I an accused? he asked.
Chandolia said the DoT officials,who were allegedly transferred from the department for not moving the file of Swan Telecom,were working at the behest of Tatas.
“D Jha and R J S Kushwaha were taking salary from the Government of India but were on the pay role of Tata and Niira,” the lawyer alleged,adding they were transferred as they had completed more than three years on their posts.
Deputy Director General A K Srivastava,in his statement,said that Chandolia directed setting up of four counters for distribution of LoIs.
However,in another statement to CBI,he said “the opening of four counters were thrust upon us” and that they were instructed by Behura to do so.
“He should decide if it was me or Behura,” defence lawyer said.
Agarwal referred to the statement of Sridhar had said that the four counters were set based on the availability of four directors with the DoT.
“The court has to decide whose statements to be believed.”
Chandolia also relied upon a judgement of Telecom Disputes Settlement & Appellate Tribunal holding that the policy decision (for distribution of LoIs on FCFS basis to those who comply with LoI condition first) cannot be questioned.