2G scam: Raja note spills beans on PM, PC (Full text of letter to JPC). PM should resign. UPA should go.
RAJA NOTE SPILLS BEANS ON PM, PC
Tuesday, 23 April 2013 | PNS | New Delhi
Former Telecom Minister A Raja on Monday rubbished JPC Chairman PC Chacko’s clean chit to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Finance Minister P Chidambaram and submitted a 100-page report holding them equally responsible for decisions taken in spectrum allotment.
There was more trouble in store for Chacko as the BJP and DMK gave breach of privilege notices against him, and the Tamil Nadu party went further seeking his removal from the post of JPC Chairman.
In his submission Raja, who was denied permission for a personal appearance before the JPC by Chacko, claimed he took all decisions with the concurrence of Manmohan Singh and Chidambaram.
Accusing Chacko of denying him an opportunity to depose before the JPC, Raja said in the covering note: “Despite my repeated requests, you have decided not to permit me to depose before the JPC. In my letter dated April 9, I had specifically informed you that I was sending a detailed written statement. Even without waiting for my statement, you have prepared a draft report and also leaked it to the media. I would submit that this is not the way the JPC is expected to function.”
Raja also blamed Chacko for not keeping the promise of providing the copy of Attorney-General Vahanvati’s deposition against him. “I always had concerns about the credibility of the JPC, the procedure it is adopting and the report it will ultimately give, and my concerns appear to be justified,” said Raja, claiming, he can provide more documents to prove his innocence.
Sources close to Raja said, he had submitted all minutes of his meeting with Chidambaram on agreement with spectrum pricing and offloading of shares to multinational companies. He also produced the meeting details with the Prime Minister along with Chidambaram.
While Raja blamed Manmohan Singh in his submission, the BJP lambasted Chacko for the “malicious activity” of indicting former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee in the report.
Chacko defended himself saying he did not name anybody and described only what happened during the period and the post of the persons.
In the Lok Sabha, BJP leader Yashwant Sinha and DMK leader TR Baalu and in the Rajya Sabha BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad submitted breach of privilege notices.
“The way the JPC draft report was made public by none other than the JPC Chairman himself in order to condemn the NDA regime and hold us guilty, is a case in point that they are playing pure politics,” Sinha told the media after filing the notice.
Slamming the draft JPC report on the 2G scam for making observations on decisions taken during the NDA regime, BJP leader Jaswant Singh said it was absurd to find faults with then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
“I find it absurd and total travesty of facts to find fault with the functioning of a Prime Minister like Atal Bihari Vajpayee. I am not concerned about what the report has to say on my functioning as the then Finance Minister. This is not a document worth the paper on which it is printed,” he told reporters outside Parliament House. Singh, a former Finance Minister, is a member of the JPC on the 2G scam.
Asked why the NDA Government went ahead with granting concessions to telecom companies despite the issue being red flagged by then Telecom Minister Jagmohan and Finance Minister Yashwant Sinha, Singh said a Prime Minister should not be “subservient”. “This is cherry picking of sentences and making the whole tree out of it,” he said.
The draft JPC report on 2G scam has questioned the NDA’s decision to grant concessions to telecom companies on licence fee despite protests by former Telecom Minister Jagmohan and says the then Government had to “forego” over Rs 42,000 crore in offering Migration Package to cellular operators.
The report alleged that this decision was taken by Vajpayee in haste. It also blamed NDA Ministers Arun Shourie and Yashwant Sinha for providing concessions to telecom operators.
The DMK also demanded Chacko’s removal from Speaker Meira Kumar. “We have given privilege notice to the Lok Sabha Speaker against the leakage of the JPC draft report by the JPC Chairman. We will ask for Chacko’s removal as he has lost the confidence of members,” Baalu said, adding that the DMK members of the Committee would submit dissenting notes to the report.
Under attack from all quarters Chacko came out with a curious argument that he did not name Vajpayee. He said, his report mentioned the posts of persons only. “I want to confirm that I have not taken anyone’s name in this report. This must be someone’s imagination. They must have calculated who was in power or in office at a particular period. I have not named Vajpayee or any other minister in the report. There is no such thing,” said Chacko.
The JPC Chairman said he was in favour of a probe into leakage of the committee’s draft report.
“If they (Opposition parties) have moved such a motion, I am with it because we have always faced this problem. At every meeting, I used to tell my colleagues that please don’t allow classified information to reach the media. But despite that, it was being leaked,” he said.
“This time also, when the draft report was prepared, I took special caution that sealed covers were made and it was sent to everyone through special messengers. How can anybody observe more caution than this? If there is any confusion over leakage, then notice should be taken,” Chacko said.
Asked if he was guilty of leaking the report, Chacko said: “They (Opposition parties) have not blamed me. The matter is how it got leaked to the media. I am not accused for it.”
On whether the report would be adopted by the Committee, Chacko said: “I am not worried about numbers in the Committee. It is not a UPA or a Congress report, it is a Committee of Parliament. It is the responsibility of all the members of the Committee to get it through. I am confident that the report would be adopted.”
NEW DELHI, April 22, 2013
Raja links PM to all key 2G decisions
In his 112-page written statement to the JPC probing the 2G scam, former Telecom Minister A. Raja has said he kept Prime Minister Manmohan Singh informed of all 2G-related decisions and the latter agreed with him. File photo
In letter to JPC, he says he met Manmohan several times between November 2007 and July 2008 to discuss the issues
In his 112-page written statement to the Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) probing the 2G scam, the former Telecom Minister and prime accused, A. Raja, has said he personally met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh several times between November 2007 and July 2008 — the period when the scam was perpetrated — to keep him informed of all 2G-related decisions, and the Prime Minister agreed with him.
On Page 72, while challenging the JPC’s draft report and the CBI’s allegations that Mr. Raja had “misled” the Prime Minister, he says: “This allegation has been made by the CBI without even recording the statement of the Hon’ble PM. On what basis do they say he was misled? I hope the JPC will not commit the same blunder; if they wish to draw any conclusion on this issue, it is mandatory to record my statement and the statement of the Hon’ble PM.” But the draft report has already reached that conclusion.
Mr. Raja then goes on to give details of his meetings, letters and conversations with the Prime Minister, several of which are not in the public domain.
Mr. Raja claims that apart from seven letters between November 2, 2007, and July 2, 2010, “I had several personal discussions with the Hon’ble PM on telecom issues throughout my tenure and particularly in the period from November 2007–January 2008.” He further provides occasions and venues where such meetings took place. “These would happen on the side of Cabinet meetings or separately at his office/residence.”
The Prime Minister has made specific statements on his discussions with Mr. Raja at a TV Editors press conference and in Parliament in February 2011, but has not disclosed either the occurrence or the details of these meetings, save one held among Mr. Raja, Mr. Chidambaram, and himself on July 4, 2008, seven months after the scam broke out.
Met PM a week before scam
Mr. Raja says that after his December 26, 2007 letter, which detailed the change in the first-come first-served (FCFS) policy, “I met the Hon’ble PM in the first week of January 2008, and this issue was again discussed, and he agreed with the proposed course of action of the DoT.” If correct, the meeting would have occurred within a week prior to the award of Letters of Intent for 2G licences on January 10, 2008, and supports documents that show that on the Prime Minister’s request of December 29, 2007, Pulok Chatterji, Secretary, and T.K.A. Nair, Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister, had discussed and endorsed Mr. Raja’s modification of the FCFS policy in PMO files through notings on 1, 6 and 7, January 2008. This was highlighted in a news report, ‘New papers show PMO analysed and agreed with Raja’s actions before 2G scam,’ published in The Hindu on March 18, 2013.
Continuing with his attack on the contention that the Prime Minister was misled, Mr. Raja says: “DoT officers were in touch with PMO regularly, without even involving me, as seen by the file notings of the PMO itself.” On July 24, 2012, CBI officials deposed before the JPC that they had not gone through the PMO files. The CBI stated that it approached a “Section Officer” in the PMO to check the “authenticity” of certain documents.
In the statement, Mr. Raja details instances and the importance of his face-to-face meetings with the Prime Minister and the then Law Minister, H.R. Bhardwaj, whose advice to take the 2G spectrum issue to the Empowered Group of Ministers (eGoM), had been rejected by Mr. Raja as “totally out of context.”
Citing “several interactions” he had with the Prime Minister and the Law Minister, he says: “If either of them had desired that the eGoM should consider this matter, they would have told me and I would have acted accordingly. However, neither of them ever made this suggestion, and rather they fully understood and endorsed my course of action.”
Pointing to his re-appointment as Telecom Minister after the 2009 election, Mr. Raja says: “…surely if he [the Prime Minister] felt that I misled him or offended him in any manner, my appointment would not have happened.”
2G scam: A Raja gives this statement to Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC)
NDTV.com | Updated: April 22, 2013 18:59 IST
New Delhi: Former Telecom Minister A Raja, accused of executing a scam worth Rs. 1.76 lakh crore when in office has said that he did everything in consultation with the Prime Minister.
Here's a letter written by Mr Raja to the Chairman of the Joint Parliamentary Committee probing the 2G scam:
Raja Letter JPC