Raja wants to depose before JPC on 2G scam

Ex-minister to be allowed only on basis of consensus

Raja wants to depose before JPC on 2G scam

With the Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) set to wrap up its probe into the alleged 2G spectrum allocation scam after its last hearing on February 12, former telecom minister A Raja, an accused in the case, is making his last ditch effort to get a chance to depose before the panel as a witness.

The DMK leader on Friday called on Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar and handed over his letter to her, requesting for an opportunity to depose before the parliamentary panel.

“The truth of the matter is being suppressed on the basis of preconceived notions, deliberate bias, faulty investigation and erroneous conclusions. Perhaps the most telling example of this situation is the judgment of the Supreme Court on February 2, where specific and prejudicial observations were made against me without giving me a hearing,” Raja stated in his letter.

Raja said that while he had the “fullest respect” for the court, the fact remained that he had been “condemned unheard.”

Raja has always expressed his willingness to depose before the 30-member JPC, headed by Congress MP P C Chacko. The DMK members in the panel T R Baalu and T Siva too have been pressing Chacko to call Raja for his deposition in the case, but the panel did not take any decision on it.

“We will wrap up evidence gathering and start preparing the draft of the report.” Chacko had recently said, ruling out any possibility of summoning any minister or key persons including Raja for deposition in the case as witness.

When asked specifically why the panel did not call Raja despite his willingness to appear before the committee, the JPC chairman said: “The committee will not function to fulfill somebody’s wishes.”

The parliamentary committee wanted to submit its report to Parliament by March 31 so that it could be discussed during the second half of the Budget Session, he added.

Although, Chacko earlier indicated that there was no possibility of calling Raja for his deposition, sources in the panel said that the request of the former telecom minister could now be discussed but allowing him to depose before the committee would require a consensus among its members.

Appearing before the panel recently, Attorney General G E Vahanvati deposed that the controversial press note on the 2G licences was changed at the last minute by Raja in 2008.

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