SC hurls fresh 2G injuries on PM; says silence proved costly

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A Raja-PM Manmohan Singh
New Delhi, Oct 14: With the government getting yet another rap from the apex court, this time around the Supreme Court's statement has been most damaging for the goodwill and reputation of the UPA. The SC flatly said that the 2G spectrum scam could have been avoided if action was taken on the Prime Minister's letter to the then Telecom Minister A Raja that asked him to sell the 'scarce' spectrum through auction.

The bench of Justices G.S. Singhvi and H.L. Dattu stated that the PM's letter to Raja on Nov 2, 2007 should be considered a 'crucial date' for the scam and said in no less terms that the multi-crore scam could have been averted if the PMO and the Finance Ministry had taken cognizance of the suggestion by the 'head of the government'.

The SC made this statement after the CBI opposed the bail pleas of the corporate honchos involved in the scam and who are in jail since the last seven months. The court had sought what other documents the CBI had to oppose the bail pleas. The court in its response said, "You (CBI) are expressing apprehension that they might tamper with evidence and affect the CBI case. All through we had restrained (ourselves from) the temptation of asking... The chargesheet does contain the date 2-11-2007, which is a crucial date, everyone knows it."

It also added, "...It (the PM"s letter) says spectrum is a scarce commodity, it should be auctioned. The minister did not agree. The finance ministry had been objecting throughout. It is not that the government was not aware of it. Telecom Commission"s meeting was deferred from January 9 (2008) to January 15. It was felt by the government, at least from a revenue point of view, that it was not in the public interest."

Responding to the arguments presented by additional solicitor- general Haren Raval who was appearing for the CBI, the court added, "What prevented them (from restraining Mr Raja). Everything has now become a post-event exercise; by taking a decision the government could have avoided the entire exercise in and outside the court. LIO (letters of intent issued by Raja) never created a right."

The ASG however put on the blame on Raja and said that the entire 'criminal' action only ensued following the issuing of LIOs by Mr Raja.

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