Raja may be charged with endangering national security

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Old 05-Mar-2011
Raja may be charged with endangering national security

New Delhi March 5:

The CBI is considering whether to charge former telecom minister A Raja with endangering national security for being instrumental in allocating spectrum to companies with foreign partners linked to firms controlled by secret services of countries inimical to India.

Sources in the agency claim to have found evidence of quid pro quo between grant of licences under Raja to firms which had either done or were in business with telecom companies in Pakistan, Afghanistan and China, and the bribes allegedly paid to him. CBI sources said that since not all firms which got spectrum in 2008 were ready to conspire with Raja, the former telecom minister chose to help late and new entrants in the sector. Anxious to get licences, yet not hopeful of their prospects, these companies were allegedly more willing to cut illegal deals with the former telecom minister.

The first chargesheet in the 2G spectrum scam case will be filed by March 31, as promised by the investigating agency before Supreme Court which is monitoring the probe. It is expected to name 15-20 persons as accused with Raja on the top of the list, the sources said. This is in contrast to 63 persons, including CEOs and managing directors of telecom firms, MPs, bankers, department of telecom officials, who were questioned intensely by the CBI in the last two months.

"All of them were not in the wrong when Raja was tweaking the first-come first-served policy in allocation of spectrum. Just because they too got spectrum along with the tainted ones, does not make all of them suspect. We have intensely questioned and joined the dots by procuring relevant documents from various places in India and abroad," the sources said. The Comptroller and Auditor General ( CAG) had said grant of licences at 2001 prices in the year 2008 without resorting to a public, transparent auction caused a notional loss of Rs 1,76,000 crore to the exchequer.

The CBI estimates the loss at Rs 45,000-50,000 crore and alleges that Raja made Rs 3,000 crore in bribe. The agency sources said they have completed 70% of the investigations into the 2G spectrum scam, which will be reflected in the first chargesheet. The agency will resort to Section 173(8) of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) to file a supplementary chargesheet after March 31 on completion of the probe. The sources also said that the CBI has registered a Preliminary Enquiry (PE) report and started looking into the spectrum allocations during the 2001-2007 period, which included the tenure of Arun Shourie as telecom minister during the NDA regime.

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