New Delhi, July 8 :
Former telecom minister A. Raja Tuesday denied the CBI’s allegation that the decision to advance the cut-off date for accepting the applications for grant of 2G spectrum licences was taken to favour Unitech.
Raja’s response came after the Central Bureau of Investigation asked him if the decision to change cut-off date was taken to favour Unitech applications in particular.
“It is incorrect,” he said.
Testifying as a defence witness in the 2G spectrum allocation case, Raja told Special CBI Judge O.P. Saini that cut-off date of Sep 25, 2007, as against Oct 1, 2007, was finalised after deliberations which took place in the department of telecommunication (DoT).
According to CBI’s charge sheet, Raja, in order to favour Unitech and Swan Telecom, unilaterally advanced the cut-off date for accepting the applications for grant of 2G licences and ignored various authorities, including Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), the law ministry and the Prime Minister’s Office.
“The decision taken by you to change the cut-off date to Sep 25, 2007, was without any reason on the file or coming from any of the papers appended to the file?” Special Public Prosecutor U.U. Lalit asked Raja.
In response, Raja said: “I was of the opinion to issue LOIs (letters of intent) to all 575 applications. However, this date was arrived on the basis of the deliberations which took place in the department under the context of policy documents mentioned as above in my statement.”
He added that the cut-off date of Oct 1, 2007, was meant for receiving applications for grant of licences while the cut-off date of Sep 25, 2007, was for processing these applications as decided by the DoT.
According to the CBI, Raja was biased while distributing 2G mobile airwaves and operating licences to telecom firms, causing a huge loss to the state exchequer. All the accused, including Raja, are out on bail.