New Delhi: Jailed former Telecom Secretary Siddhartha Behura Wednesday dragged RBI Governor D Subbarao in the2G case accusing him of not revising the spectrum licence fee and claimed he had no role to play except implementing the government's policy.
Behura's submission before a court targeting the former Finance Secretary reflected the trend of the 2G scam accused naming top leaders and officials after former Telecom Miniser A Raja named Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Home Minister P Chidambaram and Attorney General G E Vahanvati over the last two days.
Opposing the framing of charges of corruption and other penal offences against him in the case, Behura told the Special CBI judge O P Saini that Subbarao had decided against revising the entry fee of Rs 1,659 crore for 2G licence and if he is not an accused in this case, he (Behura) too should not have been put on trial.
"Subbarao finalised the decision taken in the meeting of December 4, 2007 that the policy stood approved and the entry fees (of Rs 1,659 crore fixed in 2001 during NDA's regime) need not be revised," Behura's counsel Aman Lekhi told the court. Behura is behind bars for the past six months.
"Even the Finance Minister (then P Chidambaram) was also present in the meeting (held on December 4, 2007). If Subbarao, who was part of the Finance Ministry, did commit no wrong, how come I did it?
Going by the same principle, if I have been made an accused then Subbarao should also be made an accused," he said.
The former bureaucrat defended himself against the charges against him, saying the acts done by him were in pursuance of the government policy and he did not commit any wrong that caused a loss to the exchequer.
Asserting that there was "not an iota of evidence" against him, Behura said he was only a civil servant who had no role to play except implementing the government's policy.
Behura told the court that "initially Subbarao recorded his objection (to non revision of entry fee) but later he said that the issue of pricing of the spectrum stood decided."
"Neither Subbarao nor D S Mathur (former Telecom Secretary nor any other person from any ministry are before this court as accused," said Behura, adding at best he should have been made a witness and not an accused as he had no role in finalisation of any "covert act" relating to the spectrum allocation.
In arguments that he be discharged in the case, Behura contended that he joined the telecom ministry in January 2008 and by then all the major policy decisions like those on spectrum pricing, the entry fee and the first-come-first-served policy had already been decided.
"The persons concerned have been made witnesses in the case and unfortunately Behura, who had no role in it, has been made an accused. This is nothing but an arbitrary selection of people as accused and witnesses. CBI has to do a lot of explanation," Behura's counsel said.
The government is entitled to frame a policy in which it gives primacy to some of the aspects, he said adding that a policy cannot be said to be wrong merely because there is more than one opinion on a particular issue about it.
Behura's arguments remained inconclusive and would continue tomorrow as some of the accused, including Raja, were taken to the Patiala House court lock up for their interrogation by Income Tax officials who have come from Chennai.
Behura was arrested on February 2, 2011 for his alleged involvement in the 2G scam. Under the first charge sheet filed in April 2, he is accused of committing criminal conspiracy, cheating, forgery and criminal misconduct by a public servant.
Behura had began his submissions Wednesday after former Telecom Minister A Raja concluded his arguments opposing the framing of charges Tuesday.
Raja, in his arguments, had tried to drag Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Home Minister P Chidambaram in the 2G tangle, besides blaming Attorney General of India G E Vahanvati for allegedly giving wrong legal advice.
He had questioned as to why the Prime Minister, who had the power to constitute a GoM on the issue, did not do so.
Raja had also pleaded to the court to make then Finance Minister P Chidambaram, now the Home Minister, a witness in the case, saying he was privy to the decision allowing dilution of equities by Swan Telecom and Unitech Wireless to Dubai-based Etisalat and Norway-based Telenor.
First Published: Wednesday, July 27, 2011, 17:25