2G loss speculative; media victimising me: Raja tells SC

Raja said CAG report is "a subjective opinion" which will not bear the judicial scrutiny.

Last Updated: Dec 01, 2010, 19:24 PM IST

New Delhi: Former Telecom Minister A Raja
today questioned in the Supreme Court the Comptroller and
Auditor General (CAG) finding that the exchequer had suffered
a loss of Rs 1.76 lakh crore in the allocation of 2G spectrum,
terming the figure as "mindboggling and speculative".

"It`s a presumptive value of loss which gives a
mindboggling figure of Rs 1.76 lakh crore. The figure is
totally speculative," Raja`s counsel and senior advocate T R
Andhyarujina submitted before a bench of justices G S Singhvi
and A K Ganguly.

He said the CAG report is "a subjective opinion" which
will not bear the judicial scrutiny to the extent that it says
that the Department of Telecom failed in its duty to assess
the realistic values of licences.

"I feel, subject to what you say, the matter requires
serious consideration as the CAG may completely be wrong on
it," he submitted.

The senior advocate also added that the CAG report
which was placed in the Parliament was under examination by
its Public Accounts Committee (PAC).

"It (CAG) has found an opinion which is not at all
justified," he submitted.

At this point, the bench said, "As the PAC scrutiny is
on, what do you want this court to decide."

Andhyarujina said the principle which has been applied
by the CAG in its auditing is not accepted as standard method
of evaluation.

"It is the subjective opinion. The subjective opinion
is not at all warranted," he said adding the CAG auditing
pertains to the period between 2003 to 2008, while Raja came
on scene only on May 16, 2007.

The senior advocate further maintained that before
Raja became minister his predecessors Dayanadhi Maran and Arun
Shourie had already granted 52 licences.

Andhyarujina said that whatever has been done by the
Telecom Department was on the basis of the TRAI
recommendations which the CAG cannot override.

Further, the initial part of the CAG report gives out
a wrong impression and it cannot be accepted, he said.

He also said though everything was done on the basis
of TRAI recommendation, the CAG report conveys the impression
Raja was responsibile for the scam.

The court, however, said, "An auditing authority,
specially as high as the CAG, is not bound by what the
government says is right".

Further, the Bench said "auditing is not disciplinary
proceeding. What it (CAG) means is raising objections on some
aspects".

At the outset, Andhyrujina said silence maintained
by Raja should not be seen as the admission of guilt by him.
He said since the matter is subjudice, he has offered
to talk to only one newspaper, but the media has convicted him
before hand.

"I (Raja) stand condemned. I am charged, tried and
convicted in the eyes of media," the senior advocate
submitted.

"It is like I am responsible for the loss of Rs 1.76
lakh crore," he said.

"His silence has been taken as admission of guilt. The
impression is: I am responsible for the loss of enormous
amount which is mindboggling," he said.

The senior advocate said Raja resigned on November 14
in view of the constitutional responsibility and political
compulsions and with the wishes of his party, DMK.

Pointing out that Parliament is not functioning for
last 16 days because of the alleged 2G spectrum allocation
scam, Andhyrujina said, "It has never happened in the
Parliamentary history of the country that there is such a
standstill."

He said such incident, however, should not shake the
confidence of the court.

"My (Raja) stock is so low today that whatever I say,
nothing can redeem my reputation," he said adding that a
person must be given a chance to defend.

The senior advocate said that in no other Anglo-Saxon
country, media takes over everything when the court is seized
of the matter.

"Day after day, there is a reporting....the man stands
convicted," he said.

He also questioned the leakage of the draft report of
the CAG which, he said, was published and used in the petition
before the apex court.

The bench even wanted to know if there was any rule in
CAG to maintain secrecy of the draft report.

During the hearing, the bench, however, noted that the
final report of the CAG was more eloquent.

-PTI

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