New Delhi, July 1 :
Former telecom minister A. Raja, defending himself in the 2G spectrum allocation case, Tuesday told a special court here that then prime minister Manmohan Singh and cabinet members were “completely under confusion” created by “vested interests” about the policy and procedure of the department of telecommunication (DoT) on the issue.
Testifying as a defence witness in the case, Raja told the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Special Judge O.P. Saini that he had “many discussions with the then prime minister” in November 2007 where he “explained the entire policy and legal framework governing issuance of licences and allotment of spectrum”.
Raja said that he submitted relevant papers to the prime minister.
“Further he (PM) shared with me that the members of the cabinet were also completely under confusion created by vested interests and he handed over a letter to me which was written by Kamal Nath, the then union minister, addressed to the prime minister, which raised the same issues and wanted constitution of group of ministers on these issues (relating to the policy and procedure of DoT)”, he said.
“In the parliament also, such confusing questions were asked by members of parliament by way of planting by vested interests. So, I took the issue seriously and replied to the prime minister same day (on Nov 2, 2007) by writing the aforesaid letter…explaining the correct legal position,” he said.
“I disclosed that there is a cartel force wanting to stop the legitimate efforts of the DoT to boost the tele density and reduce the tariff by way of injecting competition, which are the main objectives of National Telecom Policy (NTP), 1999 and I further disclosed how pressure was put on me through legal and other means to restrain myself from these efforts.”
Raja, who is an accused in the case, was allowed by the court last month to examine himself by appearing in the witness box so that he can defend himself in the case.
According to the government auditor, Raja was biased while distributing 2G mobile airwaves and operating licences to telecom firms, causing a loss of up to Rs.1.76 lakh crore in revenue to the treasury. All the accused, including Raja, are out on bail.