Raja refuses to resign, says ready for probe

Telecom Minister A Raja said Jayalaithaa has no moral right to make any offer to UPA.

Updated: Nov 12, 2010, 13:20 PM IST

Zeenews Bureau

New Delhi: Communications and Information Technology Minister A Raja on Friday said he is ready to face any probe but would not resign over allegations of his involvement in the 2G spectrum scam.

"The question of my resignation does not arise," Raja said on the sidelines of a national e-governance event here.

Defending his role in the 2G auction held in 2008, the minister said, “We only followed the telecom policy fixed by the Cabinet in 1999.”

The DMK minister maintained that he will not comment on the spectrum allocation issue as it is "sub-judice" and said the affidavit submitted by the Telecom Department before
the Supreme Court yesterday "says it all".

"The entire matter is sub-judice. It may not be fair on my part to comment on this... Whatever I have done is according to the law," he said.

Raja attacks Jayalaithaa

On Jayalalithaa`s offer to back the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) if it sacked the minister, the tainted union minister said, "She has no moral right to make such statements. She is the only chief minister in the country who refused to recognise her own signature in the court of law to save her skin.”

"She has no authority. She herself is fighting corruption charges. She is the only leader who has protracted proceedings in corruption cases filed against her to 10 to 12
years," he said.

Sensing the discomfort within the Congress over DMK’s A Raja continuing in the Union Cabinet, AIADMK supremo J Jayalalithaa had on Thursday demanded that the telecom minister be shown the door, while also offering unconditional support to the UPA government on the issue.

Undeterred by opposition demands for A Raja`s resignation on the 2G spectrum issue, DMK yesterday strongly defended the telecom minister, saying there was no need for him to step down as he went by the TRAI norms.

Raja, a DMK MP and a key ally of the ruling alliance, has been accused of ignoring the advice of the finance and law ministries, as also the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India while allocating the spectrum.

The telecom department had followed the policy of first-come-first-serve basis in the allocation of 2G spectrum licences and the cut-off date was arbitrarily changed and the licences were also awarded to just 120 of the 575 applicants.

The Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) on Wednesday submitted to the government its report on the controversial 2G spectrum allotment that is understood to have caused a loss of over Rs 170,000 crore to the national exchequer.

The price at which telecom operators were allotted the spectrum in 2008 was based on 2001 prices.

Government defends Raja

The Telecom Ministry had said that government auditor CAG had no jurisdiction to investigate policy decisions.

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 the 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.