CBI questions Raja again on 2G scam role

New Delhi, Dec. 25 (ANI): Former Telecom Minister A Raja was being questioned again at the headquarters of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) here on Saturday in connection with alleged irregularities in the allocation of 2G spectrum to certain telecom firms.

Raja arrived at the CBI headquarters at 9 a.m. this morning. On Friday, he was grilled by CBI sleuths for about nine hours.

Raja was forced to resign from Union Cabinet last month after a report of the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) faulted him for undervaluing spectrum to favour companies who were largely ineligible for 2G spectrum, and added that the government had probably lost Rs.1.76 lakh crore in estimated revenue.

According to sources, Raja is being questioned on the issue of preponing dates for allocation of spectrum and on the role of his relatives in some of the companies which allegedly acted as a front for certain telecom firms which got spectrum between September 2007 and January 2008.

Raja has been in Delhi since Wednesday night. He is on record as saying that he would cooperate with CBI in the probe.

The Supreme Court has asked the CBI and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) to submit status reports on their investigations into the 2G scam to it by February 10, when the case will come up for hearing.

The CBI in its first information report had mentioned the loss as Rs.22, 000 crore based on the findings of Central Vigilance Commission, which had referred the case to it.

Earlier this week, the CBI had also quizzed corporate lobbyist Niira Radia at her South Delhi farmhouse in connection with the scam.

Radia was questioned for four hours after her taped telephonic conversations with various influential people, including industrialists, politicians and journalists became public.

The CBI also questioned former Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) chief Pradip Baijal in connection with the case.

The CBI searched the premises of Raja, Baijal and Radia earlier this month.

Meanwhile, Tamil Nadu's ruling Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) party is maintaining that Raja is innocent and added that action against him will only be taken if he is proven guilty of all charges.

The DMK has claimed that Raja had not done anything wrong in his capacity as the telecom minister, as he was only following the policies followed by his the previous ministers in that portfolio.

The DMK has said that Raja followed policies recommended by TRAI and of previous Telecom Ministers such as Arun Shourie, Pramod Mahajan and Ram Vilas Paswan.

But this emphatic backing of 'Spectrum' Raja has raised questions about the alliance between DMK and the ruling Congress party.

DMK has said that there is no chargesheet against Raja, so there is no question of his arrest. DMK has also lashed out at the Opposition saying Raja was being targeted. The party has also been maintaining that the Opposition was targeting A Raja because as he was a Dalit.

While DMK's statement on Raja is likely to hit the ties with Congress, speculation is now rife about the alliance between Congress and DMK.

However, the Congress has chosen to be silent on the subject.

Congress Spokesperson Jayanthi Natarajan claimed ignorance on the matter and said she was not in a position to comment on the subject., as she was unaware of it.

She said, "I have absolutely on no idea what the DMK has said. So, I am unable to say comment because I have no idea what has been said by them." (ANI with television inputs)

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