2G name dragging game continues: Behura embroils ex-IRS

Former Telecom Secretary Sidhartha Behura
New Delhi, Jul 28: Taking a cue from key accused A Raja, former Telecom Secretary Sidhartha Behura told a Delhi court that an ex-member finance in the Telecom Commission should have been made an accused in the 2G case as she "chose" to keep mum on the issue of revising entry fee for operators.

"Manju Madhavan objected to the entry fee (of Rs 1,659 crore) by a note dated November 30, 2007. However, in a meeting of December 4, 2007, which was also attended by the then Finance Minister (Chidambaram), when the same pricing as that of 2001 was approved, she chose to remain silent."

Madhavan had, in her note, wanted the entry fee to be raised from Rs.1,659 crore in line with the market dynamics prevailing then.

"Since, she remained silent, by the same principle as applied on me, she should also be made an accused and not a witness," advocate Aman Lekhi told CBI Judge O P Saini.

Earlier, the former Telecom Minister had said that if he was made an accused for adhering to first-come-first-served (FCFS) policy then all his predecessors should also be in jail as accused.

He had also alleged that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and then Finance Minister P Chidambaram were privy to various issues relating to the 2G spectrum allocation.

During the hearing, Behura's counsel today said that Madhavan, who retired in 2007, had suggested raising entry fees beyond Rs.1,659 crore but later kept quiet when it was approved.

"Though Madhavan had sent a note in November 2007 to the Minister suggesting revision of entry fee, the same was returned by the Minister overruling her objection. When this note was marked back to her, she remained silent on it," the defence lawyer said.

Madhavan, a 1971 batch IRS officer and a prosecution witness, allegedly opted for voluntary retirement after being upset with the policies of Raja. She had also appeared before Parliament's Public Accounts Committee in January.


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