2G trail puts Shourie before CBI

Arun Shourie
New Delhi, Feb 25: The multiple agency probe in to 2G mega scam has knocked on former Telecom Minister's door. Arun Shourie was summoned by CBI for an interrogation in connection with spectrum scam.

Shourie appeared before CBI on Friday, Feb 25 and claimed that the real issue involved kickbacks and not the policy pursued for spectrum allocation.

Before he went into the CBI headquarters where he was called for questioning, he said the government was trying to divert the attention from real issues by coming up with "rubbish arguments".

Shourie, who was Telecom Minister in the Vajpayee government, said he will assist the CBI in whatever way possible and will also submit a 50-page document prepared by him giving details about broad questions like on first-come- first-serve basis policy that are appearing in the media.

"It is a very interesting point (fist-come-first-serve-basis). It is a red herring shown to the public. The issue is that (former Telecom Minister) A Raja made money irrespective of whether it was a first-come-first- serve policy or not. That is why he was shown the door. He was put in jail.

"The issue is money being made in allocation of spectrum. Even more important was his (Raja's) supervisors did not take action. They were sleeping. This is the issue." Shourie said that to divert the attention from this issue, government has come out with first-come-first-serve-basis argument.

Shourie has appeared before the CBI for questioning in connection with the agency's probe into possible criminal aspects in the telecom policy since 2001.

Shourie had held the telecom portfolio between Jan 2003 and May 2004 in the NDA regime.

According to the CBI, nearly 50 licences were given out then on a first-come-first-serve basis and Bharti, Vodafone and Idea were among the beneficiaries of the policy.

Shourie said, "I was given the ministry in 2003. In 2001 guidelines, policy of first-come-first-serve basis was very clear. The arguments of this government are all rubbish."

The former telecom minister also lambasted Shivraj Patil committee's report, saying these "signatures for hire" (referring to Patil) did not see the documents themselves.

"While media is busy covering visits of industrialists and corporates to the CBI, the Prime Minister's name is out, (DMK leader) M Karunanidhi's name is out. Names of other Congress members are out," he said.

Shourie, however, praised the CBI saying it was a competent organisation if given a free hand.

He said as per his information, the CBI has spoken to the whistleblower who had given the inputs about the scam.

When asked about Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's statement on coalition politics, Shourie said, "Now Raja has been put in jail, has any consequence followed for the coalition. Why not look at the compulsions of the DMK? They cannot go against the central government. See their compulsions as well."


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