A Raja bags that honour – First Union Minister to get SC Notice

published on September 13, 2010

A Raja first cabinet minister to get notice in 2G spectrum scam


The 2G spectrum allocation scam has returned to haunt Union communications minister A Raja. It is for the first time that a notice has been sent to Raja in the case. It is also perhaps the first case of a cabinet minister getting such a notice.

Raja or his office refused to comment on the development. After a day of staying away from media, he is scheduled to make a public appearance on Tuesday at a telecom industry event.

A source in the department of telecom (DoT) told DNA that it was not yet decided over engaging a special lawyer for Raja. “The minister can engage a lawyer for himself, otherwise the government lawyer may suffice,” the source said.

The allegation against Raja is that he allocated 2G airwaves to companies on first-come-first-serve at throwaway prices in 2008, instead of taking the spectrum auction route. The argument was that the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) had also not specified the auction route ahead of the 2G spectrum allocation in 2007.

The 2G sectrum allocation has been under scrutiny of various investigative and monitoring agencies including CBI, CVC and CAG, despite the prime minister’s office (PMO) backing DoT on the matter.

The Congress reacted cautiously to the court decision. “We believe this is the right course. The minister has got 10 days to respond. He should be heard before the case can proceed,” Congress spokesperson Mohan Prakash said.

DMK, a key ally of the UPA government, also defended Raja.

BJP had recently opposed the appointment of former DoT secretary PJ Thomas as the Central Vigilance Commissioner saying Thomas’ appointment would help Raja in the case. AIADMK and the Left parties have also voiced their resentment over Raja continuing to hold the telecom portfolio even after allegations of the spectrum scam.

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