CBI quizzes Raja in 2G spectrum scam (Second Lead)

Friday, December 24, 2010

NEW DELHI - The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Friday questioned former communications minister A. Raja here for several hours in connection with the 2G spectrum scandal, two weeks after it raided his premises in New Delhi and Tamil Nadu.

The DMK leader, who was forced to quit Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s cabinet last month. reached the CBI office at the CGO Complex in the heart of the city around 10.30 a.m., a CBI officer said.

More than eight hours later, he was still being questioned, an IANS journalist parked at the CBI headquarters said. Raja had arrived in Delhi Wednesday promising to cooperate with the agency.

“The CBI has been questioning Raja in the unified access service license case,” its spokesperson Vinita Thakur told reporters here.

Raja had to step down as minister following allegations that second generation spectrum was sold to mobile companies at below market prices causing huge losses to the government.

Raja has denied charges of wrongdoing. He was served the CBI summons a week ago while he was in Chennai. He had sought some time from the agency citing pressing personal work.

On Dec 8, the CBI searched the New Delhi and Tamil Nadu homes of Raja as well as the premises of his associates in connection with the spectrum probe.

The CBI also raided the premises of corporate lobbyist Niira Radia and an NGO linked to DMK MP and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi’s daughter Kanimozhi, who is known to be close to Raja.

Though allegations over spectrum wrongdoing have been in the air for years, they took centrestage after Radia’s telephonic conversations with industrialists, politicians and journalists leaked, showing the lobbyist worked to ensure that Raja got the communications portfolio last year.

Despite the CBI’s interrogation of Raja, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) dismissed the exercise as an eyewash.

“It is only on the intervention of the Supreme Court that the CBI is acting, and we hope the CBI comes out with some concrete evidence,” said BJP spokesperson Rajiv Pratap Rudy.

–Indo-Asians News Service

Filed under: Economy

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