Congress top brass discusses Raja`s fate

PM, Sonia Gandhi, Ahmed Patel and Pranab Mukherjee held a top-level meet.

Zeenews Bureau

New Delhi: Amid growing demands for the removal of Telecom Minister A Raja from the Union Cabinet for his alleged involvement in the 2G Spectrum allocation scam, Congress’ top bosses met in the capital on Sunday to deliberate on the issue.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, UPA chairperson and Congress president Sonia Gandhi, her political advisor Ahmed Patel and Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee held a top-level meet in the Parliament complex on the issue.

Reports said during the meeting, the senior Congress leaders decided to wait till evening when the DMK meets to decide on Raja`s fate.

The meeting came as senior DMK leader and Tamil Nadu Law Minister Durai Murugan arrived in Delhi this morning, amid speculation that he may discuss the issue of the opposition demand for the Telecom Minister`s removal.

The meeting also assumes significance as it came amid growing pressure from the opposition for the removal of Raja as telecom minister.

The government is aware that the opposition, which has stalled the parliament over corruption issue, is not going to relent unless action against Raja is taken.

The opposition campaign is expected to gain further momentum in the coming week with the CAG report on the 2G Spectrum allocation set to be tabled in Parliament.

Highly-placed government sources said that the report has been sent to the President by the Finance Ministry and in the next three-four days it will be tabled in Parliament.

The BJP-led opposition has been demanding the sacking of Raja on the basis of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India`s report on 2G Spectrum allocation that is presumed to have caused a revenue loss of up to Rs 1.76 lakh crore. Parliament was on the issue since the Winter Session began on Tuesday.

The CAG is believed to have accused the Telecom Ministry of undervaluing 2G Spectrum, sold to new players in 2008, and held that the allotment price was not realistic, thereby resulting in revenue loss of up to Rs 1,76,700 crore to the government.

The report is also understood to have castigated Raja for ignoring the advice of Finance and Law Ministries on allocation of 2G Spectrum to benefit a few operators.

On his part, Raja has been asserting that he had not done anything wrong and had only followed the policies pursued by his predecessors.

Some Congress leaders feel that an immediate solution to the Raja issue was unlikely. With DMK firmly backing Raja, the Congress is virtually finding itself in a bind.

The politics of poll-bound Tamil Nadu has also compounded the issue. Jayalalithaa has offered to extend AIADMK`s support to the government if it dumped Raja, who belongs to the DMK which has 18 MPs in the Lok Sabha.

While Union Law Minister M Veerappa Moily has come out in Raja`s defence, saying the CAG report on the Spectrum allocation cannot be termed as an "indictment", the Congress has given ample hints that if Raja would have been its minister, he would have been removed long back.

The party is citing the cases of Ashok Chavan and Suresh Kalmadi to seek a moral high ground.