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Tata was candid,Radia evasive on 2G,says PAC chief Joshi

<b>Spectrum</b> * Anil Ambani,top telecom honchos to meet parliamentary panel today.

Written by Express News Service | New Delhi |
April 5, 2011 2:46:00 am

Hours after the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of Parliament spoke to Tata Sons chairman Ratan Tata and corporate lobbyist Niira Radia in connection with the 2G spectrum scandal,PAC chief Murli Manohar Joshi today said Tata was “candid” but Radia “evasive” while replying to queries.

On Tuesday,the PAC will meet Reliance Communications chairman Anil Ambani,Etisalat DB Telecom CEO Atul Jhamb,S Tel CEO Shamik Das and Unitech Wireless Managing Director Sigve Brekke to discuss the same issue.

“One person (Radia) was reluctant to share information,while the other (Tata) was very forthcoming,” Joshi told the media after the meetings today. At one stage,the PAC had to remind Radia that she was appearing before a Parliamentary committee in connection with a probe.

Tata,on the other hand,was “candid” throughout his three-hour deposition. Wherever he lacked information,he promised to get back to the committee “in two-three days”.

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Tata,who arrived at Parliament House well before the 3 pm scheduled time,was told to wait for a few minutes in an adjoining room. Radia had to wait for an hour,from 11 am till past noon,before she was called in. She was with the committee for over two hours.

Joshi said Tata,in response to questions from members,stated that the voice on the Radia tapes was indeed his. He said Tata admitted having “written the letter” — in praise of policies of then Telecom Minister A Raja — to Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi on November 13,2007.

“He (Tata) spoke freely and clearly,” Joshi said. “The committee will examine his replies and see if they are correct.”

On Radia,Joshi said: “The committee experience was that she was not willing to place facts before it.” The panel apprised her of the transcripts of her phone conversations and asked her what she had to say about it. “After all,everything is available on websites,” Joshi said. “She was dilly-dallying… one moment she would say she could not recall,the next moment she would say it is so,followed by it is not so.”

He said she maintained that the tapes were “doctored”. “We told her you have been made a witness by the CBI in the court case,” Joshi said. The committee members also reminded her that the CBI too must have confronted her with her taped conversations. To this,she replied in the positive.

Radia denied having had any role in the formation of the Cabinet. Her position was that she only ran a PR agency. “How can I have any role in this” she was quoted as having asked the committee.

She denied having had any special rapport with Raja though she said she knew him “due to my work”. She said she knew DMK Rajya Sabha member and Karunanidhi’s daughter Kanimozhi.

When reporters drew Joshi’s attention to the fact that Radia’s company Vaishnavi Corporate Communications had claimed she had cooperated with the PAC,Joshi countered: “Who would say she did not cooperate?”

Radia later told reporters that she could not comment on what happened during the deposition. “You must understand,I cannot comment,” she said. “It is over.”

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