Raja quizzed again, says he cooperated

Former telecom minister A Raja was quizzed yesterday also in connection with the 2G scam.

Zeenews Bureau

New Delhi: The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) questioned former telecom minister A Raja for the second consecutive day on Saturday, in connection with the 2G spectrum allocation scam.

The former telecom minister arrived at the CBI headquarters here this morning, along with his doctor for a second round of questioning.

He was yesterday questioned for nine hours during which the DMK leader was quizzed on the controversial preponement of dates for allocation of spectrum and alleged funding of some of the telecom companies by his kin.

Raja, 47, was on Friday confronted with some documents recovered by the agency during its raids on DoT offices in October last year after registering a case against unknown officers of Department of Telecommunications (DoT) and telecom companies, official sources said last night.

The questioning of Raja came days after his residences here and in Tamil Nadu were searched by the CBI.

After yesterday’s questioning, sources in the agency had said that Raja, a DMK MP from Nilgris, would be questioned again during which he would be confronted with some more questions and documents recovered from the computers seized during the raids conducted by the CBI earlier.

Emerging out of the CBI headquarters after his questioning, Raja put up a brave face yesterday, saying that he had cooperated with the CBI.

"I gave full cooperation to the investigating agencies. I can`t say anything further because investigations are on," he said facing hordes of newsmen and photoraphers before he got into his car.

Raja, who had flown in from Chennai on Wednesday, appeared before the agency headquarters for questioning after he was summoned under Section 160 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC).

The CBI spokesperson and deputy inspector general of police (DIG) Bineeta Thakur said Raja was "questioned in relation to the case registered into the allocation of unified access service licenses." She refused to elaborate.

Raja, who had earlier expressed his inability to appear before the agency, was yesterday questioned at length on the circumstances leading to spectrum allocation which has been criticised severely by Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) and the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG).

The CBI also quizzed him on the tapped conversation he had with corporate lobbyist Nira Radia about allegedly favouring certain telecom companies, the sources said, adding some of the questions were also posed to him about alleged investments made by some of his kins in some telecom companies.

Raja was forced to resign on November 14 in the wake of the CAG report which held that the spectrum allocation at undervalued prices resulted in a notional loss of Rs 1.76 lakh crores to the exchequer.

He was also questioned on the issue of advancing dates for allocation of spectrum and on the role of his relatives in some of the companies which allegedly acted as a front for certain telecom firms that got spectrum between September 2007 and January 2008.

Raja got the telecom portfolio on May 18, 2007 and again got re-elected as a Member of the 15th Lok Sabha and continued as telecom minister from May 31, 2009 till November 14, this year before he tendered his resignation.

The Supreme Court has asked the CBI and the Enforcement Directorate to submit status reports on their investigations into the second generation mobile spectrum case to it by February 10, when the case will come up for further hearing.

The CBI in its FIR had mentioned the loss as Rs 22,000 crore based on the findings of CVC which had referred the case to it.

The CBI had also questioned Niira Radia earlier this week at her South Delhi farmhouse. Radia, who was questioned for four hours, came under the scanner after her tapped telephonic conversations with various influential people including industrialists, politicians and journalists became public.

The CBI has also questioned former Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) chief Pradip Baijal, a 1966 batch IAS officer of Madhya Pradesh cadre, and former telecom secretaries Siddarth Behura and DS Mathur in connection with the case.

(With PTI inputs)