CBI all set to mount fresh trouble for A Raja

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A Raja
New Delhi, Feb 24: With former Telecom Minister A Raja still cooling his heels in Tihar jail, the CBI is planning more trouble for him. The investigative agency is intending to convert its present ‘preliminary enquiry’ (PE) registered to probe into the flawed granting of BSNL’s WiMax franchise to a private firm into a regular case.

The case is most likely to be converted on Friday and as per sources, the officials are expected to collect fresh documents related to the contract that was awarded during Raja’s tenure (in 2009), from the BSNL.

A source has been quoted as saying, “Probe by the agency has revealed that some BSNL officials allegedly played crucial role in awarding WiMax franchise to a private firm. Immediately after registering a regular case, CBI sleuths will call BSNL officials for questioning.”

The source further added, “The BSNL on June 3, 2009, floated tender for short-listing bidders for WiMax franchise. Probe has revealed that the BSNL officials allegedly diluted certain terms and conditions of the contract to favour a particular company”.

The source claimed that the private player was granted BSNL’s Wimax franchise in six circles in spite of failing to meet the set guidelines. Wimax is one of the technologies that offer wireless broadband services.

An initial probe revealed that a total of five companies applied for the franchisee, but the BSNL officials allegedly favoured this particular company leading them to bag the deal. The investigative officials are looking into the role Raja played in finalizing the deal.

PE revealed that the DoT ignored the recommendations of its own committee while finalizing the Wimax franchise deal. The source claimed that the DoT committee, headed by the then telecom commission member (finance) in its report had stated that the terms offered by the franchisees were ‘not in the financial interest of BSNL’ and that the deal needs to be reviewed.

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