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Friday, July 20, 2018

Damned by JPC,Raja hits back: ‘Did everything in consultation with the PM’

He said he would send a detailed note to the JPC explaining his position

Written by Gopu Mohan | Chennai/new Delhi | Published: April 20, 2013 3:52:35 am

Former telecom minister A Raja,whom the draft report of the joint parliamentary committee on the 2G scam has accused of “misleading” Prime Minister Manmohan Singh,on Friday hit out directly at the PM,saying all decisions regarding the allotment of spectrum were made in consultation with him.

“In interviews (given) after demitting office,I had said I did everything in consultation with the Prime Minister. After I was arrested,and then at the court during framing (of) charges,I submitted the same argument. My stand is very clear notwithstanding the events which took place in the past,” Raja told reporters at Chennai airport.

He said he would send a detailed note to the JPC explaining his position. “I will prove my innocence… I do hope that at least after the perusal of my note they will call me.” Raja has repeatedly asked the House panel to allow him to depose.

Raja also criticised the national auditor — which has put the value of the loss to the exchequer in the 2G spectrum allocation at Rs 1.76 lakh crore.

“The entire 2G (probe) is complete lawlessness. Whether it is the CAG… with due respect to the Supreme Court,even the Supreme Court observations are completely violating natural justice. I do have faith in judiciary,the trial is going on and I will prove my innocence,” Raja said.

The former minister’s party chief M Karunanidhi said it was difficult to believe that a minister could mislead the PM. “How can we believe that a minister misled the prime minister?” the DMK chief said. Asked if he had any advice for Raja,Karunanidhi said,“He was a minister of the department… I don’t have to give him any advice that he does not know… Justice should be given in the right way.”

The opposition mounted a blistering attack on JPC chairman P C Chacko. Both the BJP and CPI rejected the draft report and announced they would move dissent notes at the next meeting of the committee.

Leader of the Opposition in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley accused the Congress of using the JPC to subvert the truth. On the plea that the PM had been misled by Raja,he said,“A king who chooses to be misled doesn’t deserve to be the ruler.”

Raja’s correspondence with the Prime Minister,Jaitley pointed out,made it clear that he and then finance minister P Chidambaram had been in the loop on what Raja was doing. “If the JPC finds that they were innocent,all I can tell you is this JPC report will meet the same fate as Bofors,” Jaitley said. “Its credibility will probably be worse than earlier JPCs.”

According to Jaitley,a JPC under the late B Shankaranand had come out with a “fictional report” that said that the bribes in the Bofors deal were actually winding up charges because middlemen and agents were asked to wind up their business.

The CPI’s Gurudas Dasgupta said “Chacko is acting more like a Congressman than the chairman of the panel”. Chacko,Dasgupta said,“was under obligation to save the PM”.

Chacko sought to downplay the criticism,saying “All these allegations were always there and in the past also there were many JPCs which were controversial”. He said he was confident of sorting out differences,so that the report could be adopted on April 25. “I hope my draft is acceptable to majority of the committee,” he said.

On not summoning Raja,Chacko said: “I had two rounds of discussion with Raja and I told him that the collective decision of the leaders of Parliament who drafted the terms of reference for this JPC is to examine its policy,implementation and aberration during the period of 10 years from 1999 to 2008.

“There were six telecom ministers during this period,and if we call one minister,we have to call other ministers also… Since Raja was an important person in this case,I suggested to him that he can give us in writing his views.”

Raja gave a 13-page note which was taken on record and circulated among members.

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