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2G: Raja`s former aide put to intense questioning

Last Updated: Wednesday, December 21, 2011 - 23:30

New Delhi: A former aide of A Raja on Wednesday
told a local court that corporate lobbyist Niira Radia used to
call him "many times" on phone to inquire about the
"whereabouts" of former telecom minister.

Asservartham Achary, former additional private secretary
of Raja, also claimed that during one of the telephone
conversations Radia told him to pass on a message to the
then minister that she had sorted his "Kalaignar TV problem."
DMK MP Kanimozhi, an accused in the 2G scam case, has 20 per
cent stake in DMK-run Kalaignar TV.
Achary was put to intense questioning by senior advocate
and Kanimozhi`s counsel Ram Jethmalani in a Delhi Court where
he gave answers to queries ranging from Raja`s communication
with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and conversations with
Radia.

When asked about Raja and Radia, Achary said the
corporate lobbyist used to call him "many times" on phone to
inquire about the former telecom minister and that she had
also spoken about Kalaignar TV.

"It is correct that before my conversation (of September
18, 2008), Niira Radia had spoken to me many times on phone.
She used to speak to me about the whereabouts of A Raja... I
used to address her ma`am and not by her name," Achary said.
During cross-examination, Achary, deposing as a CBI
witness, said he immediately used to recognize Radia`s voice
when she called him.

Jethmalani asked him if he was aware of the Kalaignar TV
problem that Radia was referring to during their telephonic
conversation on September 18, 2008.

Radia had called Achary saying, "Ok tell him (Raja) that
I have sorted out his Kalaignar problem. That Kalaignar TV
problem."

Achary had a tough time to answer questions from
Jethmalani relating to Raja`s November 2, 2007 letter to the
prime minister as in the first instance he was not sure
whether it was urgent or not but later he admitted that it was
urgent.
"I am not aware if the urgency was that Raja wanted to
communicate to the prime minister that either he had not
received his letter sent during the day or had (PM) ignored
it," he first said when Jethmalani asked Achary whether he was
aware of the reason of being called by Raja at around 9 pm at
former telecom minister`s camp office at his residence on
November 2, 2007.

However, on seeing the letter, Achary said, "I admit
that this was the cause of urgency."

Raja`s November 2, 2007 letter was related to the cut
off date for applications for the 2G licences and he had
informed the prime minister that as unprecedented number of
applications were being received, a cut-off date of October 1,
2007 announced on September 24, 2007 was retrospectively
preponed for September 25 which the CBI alleged was done to
favour some private telecom companies.
About the Kalaignar issue, Achary said he was not
aware of the exact problem of the TV channel about which Radia
was referring to but came to know about it after he was called
by the CBI for his examination.

Achary said Radia wanted him to convey her message about
Kalaignar TV to Raja and he did it accordingly.

"I did not know what specific problem was. I came to
know about this problem after I was called by the CBI and they
played the tape. I did not ask Raja as to what this problem
was nor did I ask Radia about this on that day or any other
day subsequently," he said.

Radia`s conversation with politicians, businessmen,
bureaucrats and journalists recorded by the Income Tax
Department was leaked selectively.

"Since I was in exit mood, I did not try to understand
as to what the problem was which Radia was referring to," he
said.

PTI



First Published: Wednesday, December 21, 2011 - 21:48

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