2G: A Raja threatens fast if JPC doesn't call him to depose

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A Raja
New Delhi, Mar 2: Nilgiris MP A Raja says he will go on a hunger strike if the Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) looking into the 2G spectrum scam does not call him as a witness.

The former telecom minister has repeatedly apprised JPC chairman PC Chacko of his desire to appear before the panel. On Feb 23, Raja even urged Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar to ensure that the JPC calls him to depose before it.

Chacko maintains that the JPC is yet to decide whether Raja should be allowed to appear as a witness. Now that he is threatening to sit on fast near the Gandhi statue at Parliament's Gate number 1, Chacko may have to take a decision soon.

Raja believes that as an elected representative, he has every right to appear before the JPC and present his version. However, Congress leaders are reluctant to accept his demand since the DMK leadership is reportedly not in favour of him deposing as a witness.

The ruling party is also unsure of Raja's motives. On Feb 27 when Attorney General GE Vahanvati testified in the special court trying the 2G case and said that the former telecom minister had deliberately made changes to a Jan 2008 press release on the allocation of 2G spectrum, Raja averred that Vahanvati was "telling a lie".

One of the charges against Raja is that he fudged the press release after Vahanvati, the then solicitor general, had cleared it. Raja wanted to help certain telecom companies and therefore he changed the eligibility criteria for spectrum allocation, the CBI said in its chargesheet.

According to the agency, Raja advanced the cut-off dates for compnaies to apply for 2G spectrum and issued licences to select companies in 2008 at prices that prevailed in 2001.

Raja's main contention is that he did not do anything in isolation as both Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the then Finance Minister P Chidambaram were very much involved in the telecom licensing process.

This is why the ruling party is afraid that the DMK politician may compound the government's woes by dragging the duo into the Rs 1.76 lakh crore scam. Congress would ideally like him not to say anything incriminating either the PM or Chidambaram to the JPC.

OneIndia News

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