New Delhi: Former Telecom Minister A Raja has rejected JPC Chairman P C Chacko's offer giving him a chance to respond on the 2G spectrum allocation issue in written submissions, saying he wants to personally depose before the panel to tender evidence on the matter.
In a two-page letter to the the Chairman of the Joint Parliamentary Committee probing the 2G spectrum issue, Raja wondered "why the JPC is reluctant to hear my deposition on the entire gamut of issues that is supposed to be looking into".
"After all, the purpose of the JPC is to arrive at the truth of the matter, and my unique position to explain the policy and rationale of the government behind the issuance of UAS (telecom) licenses and grant of spectrum, as well as the sequence of events and the role of various individuals and institutions, cannot be overstated," he said.
Chacko on March 8 wrote to Raja seeking his response to a set of four questions. Chacko's letter was in response to Raja's letter to Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar on February 22, with a copy marked to the JPC Chairman, seeking an opportunity to appear before the panel and explain his version.
Raja in the March 13 letter said he wanted to respond to Attorney General's allegations against him that he ignored the advice of the Law Minister and the Finance Ministry in allocating spectrum.
"... If given an opportunity to appear before the JPC, I will establish that these allegations are misconceived and that all decisions were taken collectively by the Department of Telecom with express or tacit consent of other senior functionaries of the Government," he wrote.
Raja said though his response has been sought by the JPC Chairman based on the deposition of the Attorney General, he has not been provided a copy of the deposition.
JPC, he said, "was proceeding without regard to fundamental principles of natural justice".
"I would however submit that his (AG's) statement, as reflected in the letter, is contradictory to his own documents and his subsequent conduct. If I am given a chance to properly refute his statement, the truth can be easily understood," he said.
Raja said it appears that JPC has already reached a conclusion on this issue without even hearing his evidence. "I would call upon you to proceed with an open mind, in the interest of a fair enquiry and not reach any premature conclusions."
Chacko took this route apparently amid fears that deposition by Raja, the main accused in the 2G scam, could lead to demands by BJP and Left for calling Finance Minister P Chidambaram before the committee as a witness.
Raja wants to contradict the statement made by Attorney General G E Vahanvati before the Committee that the controversial press note regarding 2G licences was changed at the last minute by the former Telecom Minister in 2008 with a different pen.
Vahanvati was then the Solicitor General.
First Published: Wednesday, March 13, 2013, 20:50