Raja writes to Speaker, says he wants to depose before panel probing 2G scam

Last Updated: Sat, Feb 23, 2013 12:33 hrs

New Delhi: Blamed for a number of issues in the 2G scam, former telecom minister A Raja wants to appear before the Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) as a witness to tell his side of story.

Raja's request to Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar comes days after attorney general G E Vahanvati blamed him for various issues before the JPC.

He has also been blamed for the 2G scam by other witnesses before the special CBI court.

Raja met Kumar at her office yesterday and handed over a letter expressing his willingness to appear as a witness before the committee.

DMK members in JPC T R Baalu and T Siva had been pressing chairman P C Chacko to call Raja as a witness. They also demanded calling Vahanvati again before the panel after he told JPC earlier this month that the controversial press note regarding 2G licences was changed at the last minute by Raja in 2008 with a different pen.

Vahanvati was then the solicitor general. Chacko is apparently against calling Raja as a witness. He has told members that as an accused has legal protection, he cannot make fresh revelations before any committee. Therefore, there was no point in calling Raja.

But Chacko is yet to take a final call on the issue. "If Raja is to be called, he will be the last witness. If DMK agrees on not calling him, then we have concluded calling witnesses before JPC and we would focus on writing the report," Chacko had recently said.

Parliament sources said the Speaker cannot direct any committee to call a person as a witness. In this case, Kumar can forward Raja's letter to Chacko who is currently in Bangalore.

DMK backs Raja as he expresses willingness to appear before JPC

The Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) on Saturday backed former Telecom Minister A. Raja, who has expressed his desire to appear before the Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC), and said it is convinced that there is nothing wrong in the allocation of spectrum.

Senior DMK leader and party spokesperson TKS Elangovan said Raja has written a letter to Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar requesting her to permit him to appear before the JPC probing the 2G spectrum scam.

"I think there is nothing wrong in it because he is the prime accused and he has to be heard. When JPC is going into the allocation of spectrum and Raja being the prime accused, the JPC should also hear him and then decide on their report. So, I don't think there is anything wrong in Raja claiming that he should also be heard," said Elangovan.

"We are convinced that there is nothing wrong in the allocation of spectrum, but somehow it was hyped very big and a propaganda has gone against the DMK and the DMK Ministers and also the UPA Government. But Raja has time and again said that he had been following what the previous government had followed, he has not done anything new in this regard. So, Raja depose before the JPC and let the JPC come out with a conclusion," he added.

Elangovan further said that he believes in the former Telecom Minister's statement that he has not done anything wrong.

Meanwhile, the Lok Sabha Speaker said that she has forwarded Raja's letter to JPC chairman P.C. Chacko.

"The letter A. Raja wrote to me, I forwarded it to P.C. Chacko," she told media Varanasi.

According to reports, T.R. Baalu and T. Siva, the DMK leaders in JPC, had been pressing Chacko to call Raja as a witness.

The former Telecom Minister's request to the Lok Sabha Speaker comes days after Attorney General G.E. Vahanvati blamed him for various issues before the JPC.

Raja and 12 others have been charged with conspiracy, forgery and cheating in the 2G case.

Raja is accused of tinkering with procedure and policy to help Unitech and other companies to get the 2G licences. They are also charged with benefiting Unitech to make windfall gains by selling stakes at a premium to Telenor.

The trial is currently being held in the court of O.P. Saini in Delhi's Patiala House.

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