2G: Behura`s bail reserved, says PM backed policy

A Delhi court reserved its order on the bail plea of former Telecom Secretary Siddhartha Behura, who countered the conspiracy charge against him by saying he was implementing a policy backed by the Prime Minister.

New Delhi: A Delhi court on Friday reserved
its order on the bail plea of former Telecom Secretary
Siddhartha Behura, an accused in 2G spectrum scam case, who
countered the conspiracy charge against him by saying he was
implementing a policy backed by the Prime Minister.

Behura said he was only "doing his duty" and following
the orders of Raja, who was appointed for the second term as
Telecom Minister by the Prime Minister in 2009, one year after
Letters of Intent (LoI), were issued.
Special CBI Judge O P Saini reserved the order for
June 3 after detailed arguments when CBI alleged Behura, who
was holding the key post, cannot be let off from the charge of
conspiracy.

Behura`s counsel and senior advocate Aman Lekhi
submitted the Prime Minister gave Raja a second term as
Telecom Minister in 2009, one year after the distribution of
Letters of Intent(LoI) and this shows the concurrence on the
policy in the government.

CBI, however, said Behura, by virtue of holding the
most important post of Secretary, had full authority to
complain to the cabinet if he was not in agreeement with Raja
on any policy.

"As per the service conduct rules, he (Behura) was not
obliged to follow the illegal orders of the minister(Raja),"
CBI said.
The argument was opposed by Behura`s counsel, who
asked "in a government, is there anyone more important than
the Prime Minister? There cannot be."

"CBI is saying forget the PM. For some reason, they have
chosen to keep out those people who had the constitutional
authority to interfere and could have interfered."

"At any point, the Prime Minister could have summoned the
cabinet had there be any disagreement but it was not done.
Also, it is a matter of policy and Behura was just doing his
duty," Lekhi said.

The investigating agency, meanwhile, alleged Behura
flouted the national telecom policy as per which LoIs are to
be issued only when the spectrum is available.

"He (Behura) did not inquire about the availability of
spectrum when LoIs were being issued. He did so only when time
came for grant of licences. By the time licences were issued,
he had no information about the availability of spectrum," CBI
Prosecutor A K Singh said.

"What prompted them to issue licences in such large
numbers when they did not have so much spectrum in hand?" he
said.

In response to this, Lekhi said "the LoIs were signed
by the then Deputy Director General R K Gupta who was
authorised to sign the same on behalf of the President of
India. Why is he not an accused?"

Opposing his bail, the probe agency said "when people at
the helm of society conduct criminal offence, they shall be
dealt with strictly. We have to teach them a lesson and show
the world that crime does not pay."

Lekhi opposed the statment saying by making such statmets
CBI was passing a judgement which is the prerogative of the
court. The probe agency is baying for blood."

Behura is lodged in Tihar Jail along with 12 other
accused persons including Raja, DMK MP Kanimozhi and Swan
telecom promoter Shahid Usman Balwa.

PTI

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