NEW DELHI: The CBI has finally arrested former Telecom minister A Raja. Raja was arrested after fourth round of questioning at CBI headquarters here.
The CBI has also arrested Raja’s brother K Perumal and his close aides, former personal secretary RK Chandolia and former telecom secretary Siddhartha Behuria.
This was the fourth round of grilling for A Raja by the investigating agency.
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2G scam: Raja aides Chandolia, Behura also arrested
New Delhi: Along with former Telecom Minister A Raja, the CBI arrested two of his close aides – RK Chandolia and Siddharth Behura.
Mr Chandolia was Mr Raja’s private secretary during UPA1. When the UPA returned to power in May 2009, and Mr Raja returned as Telecom Minister, Mr Chandolia was appointed the Economic Advisor to Mr Raja’s ministry. CBI sources say Mr Chandolia interacted with the licensees who were allegedly sold 2G frequency at bargain-basement prices by the Telecom Ministry.
Siddharth Behura was the Telecom Secretary January 1, 2008 to September 30, 2009. He signed off on the files that formalized the sale of 2G licenses.
2G scam: ‘Raja to blame for losing Rs 1.76L cr’
NEW DELHI: The Comptroller and Auditor General of India on Wednesday said it has submitted to the government the report on the 2G spectrum allotment that is presumed to have caused a revenue loss of up to Rs 1.76 lakh crore.
“Yes, we have submitted the final report to the government. I cannot disclose the findings of the report. It is up to the government when it will be tabled in Parliament … may be within a fortnight or it may take long,” Comptroller and Auditor General Vinod Rai told reporters here.
Sources in the know say that the CAG has accused the telecom ministry for undervaluing 2G spectrum, sold to new players in 2008, and held that the allotment price was not realistic, which has caused a revenue loss of up to Rs 1,76,700 crore to the government.
The report is also believed to have castigated telecom minister A Raja for ignoring the advice of finance and law ministries on allocation of 2G spectrum to benefit a few operators.
It is also believed to have criticised telecom regulator TRAI for standing as a helpless spectator when its recommendations were being ignored or misused.
However, no confirmation on CAG’s reported comments could be obtained.
The report is believed to have said that the telecom ministry took arbitrary decisions while allotting 2G spectrum, bundled with licences in January 2008.
Sources said a copy of the report has been sent to the finance ministry and to the President. The process usually takes 10-15 days to finalise and then it would be tabled in Parliament. The month-long winter session of Parliament began on November 9.
Nine firms were issued licences, bundled with start up of 2G spectrum, in January 2008 at Rs 1,658 crore for pan-India operations.
The CAG report said the price at which the spectrum was alloted in 2008 was based on 2001 prices, which was quite low and has resulted in a loss to the government exchequer.
The report also said that Raja ignored the advice of the law ministry and Prime Minister and advanced the cut-off date for giving the Letter of Intent (LoI).
The telecom ministry had, however, hit at the CAG saying the policy decisions cannot be “assailed” as arbitrary and debunked CAG’s assertion that 2G spectrum was allocated in an arbitrary manner.
“Decisions (on spectrum) taken on the basis of New Telecom Policy of 1999 and the Cabinet decision of 2003, coupled with periodic and respective TRAI’s recommendations.
“(This) cannot be assailed by the audit as arbitrary or cause of exchequer loss until and unless the entire policy devised with legislative backing is changed or modified by the same authorities concerned,” DoT had said in its reply to the Comptroller and Auditor General.
CAG has reportedly put the revenue loss to exchequer at up to Rs 1.40 lakh crore, in addition to another Rs 36,700 crore on allocation of spectrum beyond contractual limit to existing nine operators.