All decisions I took were DoT proposals, Raja tells 2G court

All decisions I took were DoT proposals, Raja tells 2G court
Former Telecom Minister A Raja on Monday refuted the charges levelled against him by the CBI in the 2G spectrum allocation case, arguing before a special court that every decision he took on granting of radio waves were proposals of the department of telecommunication (DoT) and “unanimous”.

Initiating final arguments in the case, he also told the special CBI court that all the decisions on spectrum allocation were shared with the then prime minister (Manmohan Singh) and other cabinet colleagues “at all crucial stages”.

Besides, concurrence of the then External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee (now President of India) and Solicitor General G E Vahanvati to the DoTs decision were also taken, he added. Advocate Manu Sharma was arguing in the special court on behalf of Raja, who is facing trial along with DMK MP Kanimozhi and others in the case.

“All decisions were in the exact fashion as they were set out in the file notings. No departures were ever made,” Raja’s counsel submitted before the court.

Defending Raja in the case, his counsel also claimed that not a single penny came as a pecuniary gain to Raja in allocation of 2G spectrum licences. He urged the court to look at the entire episode through the prism of the “New Telecom Policy of 1999” to verify if objectives of the policy were achieved or not.

“At various forums, his (Raja) stand has been vindicated and the then prime minister as well as his successors have all supported the claims made by him in Parliament,” Sharma contended.

Seeking to counter the CBI charge that Raja “deliberately” advanced the cut off date for submission of applications to keep other companies out of the race, Sharma contended that the “overriding principle” was followed by the DoT to introduce new operators.

The Unified Access Services Licence (UASL) regime was introduced for implementation in 2003 with approval of the Union Cabinet after a Group of Ministers accepted recommendation of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai), Raja’s counsel contended. “What happened between 2004 and 2007 before Raja took charge (of the Telecom Ministry) was that 51 new UASL were given and records suggest that the DoT never asked Trai whether they can issue licence or not or did they assess the availability of spectrum as per the norm of overriding principle,” he added.

On Sharma’s contention that there was no conspiracy, the special CBI judge O P Saini sought to know from Raja’s counsel, “Ordinarily, the conspiracy is hatched in secrecy but can the offence of conspiracy be made out if it is done in open?” Sharma told the court would respond to this question during his arguments later.
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