2G scam: Govt defends Raja in court

Govt made it clear there would be no action in near future against Telecom Minister A Raja.

Last Updated: Nov 12, 2010, 09:14 AM IST

Zeenews Bureau

New Delhi: An aggressive Opposition
continued to mount immense pressure on Thursday for ouster of A Raja over 2G spectrum scam but a cautious government made it clear
that there would be no action in the near future amid strong
opposition by the DMK to the Telecom Minister`s removal.

Not only that, the telecom ministry today
said that government auditor CAG had no jurisdiction to
investigate policy decisions.

The Opposition parties stalled Parliament for the second
consecutive day while demanding Raja`s removal and Joint
Parliamentary Committee probe into the alleged irregularities
to the tune of Rs 1.76 lakh crore in 2G spectrum allocation.

The government, while rejecting demands for JPC, made it
clear that any decision on the issue could be taken after the
report of the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG), which has
"indicted" Raja, is discussed in Parliament.

"The CAG has already given its report. The PAC, which
is a mini JPC, will go into the issue and report to
Parliament. It will again be debated. Why there is a demand
for JPC? It is un-understandable," Home Minister P Chidambaram
told reporters outside Parliament House.

Echoing similar views, Bansal said, "Corruption is a
serious issue...CAG (report) is yet to be finalised. Now the
matter would rest with the Public Accounts Committee. The PAC
has to look into it."

Contending that anybody found guilty should be
punished, he said that after the PAC presents its report to
Parliament, "it is the right of Parliament to go for a
structured discussion. That is what Parliament is meant for."

He said Raja may have been "indicted by one organisation
(CAG), (but) that is not the end of the matter...the matter is
before the Supreme Court...we should not make a final decision
on anything only after listening to one point and then inflate
the issue.

Sources said that Mukherjee also had a meeting with senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders on the issue. However, BJP leaders said later that the party was firm on its demand for a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) probe into the telecom scam and removal of Raja.

In an apparent effort to forestall any action against
Raja, DMK leader and party chief M Karunanidhi`s daughter
Kanimozhi met Finance Minister and Congress trouble-shooter
Pranab Mukherjee here and is understood to have told him that
he should not be removed from the Union Cabinet.

"Why should he (Raja) resign," asked DMK spokesperson
and Lok Sabha MP T K S Elangovan and saying that everyone
should wait for the CBI probe to end.

"Whatever the Minister did was based on the norms set
by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India. Let the CBI
inquiry into the issue end first," he said.

AIADMK chief J Jayalalithaa, meanwhile, sought to fish
in troubled waters, saying Raja should be dropped and if DMK
withdraws support, she would extend support of 18 MPs -- 9
from her party and remaining from other "like-minded parties".

Congress, however, was dismissive about the offer,
saying there was "no vacancy" as DMK remains its ally.

In the Supreme Court, the Telecom Ministry said the CAG
did not have the authority to question the policy decision as
per which 2G licences were issued to new players in 2008. Top telecom official said that all decisions on awarding
of licences were as per policy of 1999 and were followed by
his predecessors in the BJP-led NDA regime and also in the UPA
regime.

It also rejected allegations of favouring companies while
allotting 2G spectrum and opposed any court-monitered enquiry
by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) or by forming any
special investigative team (SIT) in this issue.

DoT also rejected the allegations made by a city-based
NGO Telecom Watchdog that it allotted 2G spectrum to ineligible
firms, without any proper verification.

It also rejected the allegation that it allotted spectrum
to firms such Swan Telecom, in which Anil Ambani group Firm
Reliance Communication has shares.

-Agencies inputs