Former Telecom Minister A Raja on Friday appeared before the CBI for questioning in the Rs 22,000 crore 2G spectrum scam, over a year after the agency registered a case in this connection.
47-year-old Raja appeared before the agency at 1030 on Friday morning after he was summoned by the CBI under Section 160 of the Criminal Procedure Code.
Raja, who had earlier expressed his inability to appear before the agency, is likely to be questioned at length on the circumstances leading to spectrum allocation which has been criticised severely by the Central Vigilance Commission and the Comptroller and Auditor General.
Raja was forced to resign last month in the wake of a controversy over his role in the spectrum allocation. He is likely to be questioned on the issue of advancing dates for allocation of spectrum and on the role of his relatives in some of the companies which allegedly acted as a front for certain telecom firms which got spectrum between September 2007 and January 2008.
Raja got the telecom portfolio on May 18, 2007 and again got re-elected as a Member of the 15th Lok Sabha and continued as Telecom Minister from May 31, 2009 till November 14, this year when he tendered his resignation.
The former minister, who flew to Delhi on Wednesday night from Chennai, had told reporters that he would cooperate with the CBI in the probe. The Supreme Court has asked the CBI and the Enforcement Directorate to submit status reports on their investigations into the 2G case to it by February 10, when the case will come up for further hearing.
The CAG in its report to Parliament had said that the allocation of 2G spectrum at undervalued prices had resulted in the loss of Rs 1.76 lakh crore to the exchequer.
The CBI in its FIR had mentioned the loss as Rs 22,000 crore based on the findings of CVC which had referred the case to it. Corporate lobbyist Niira Radia was earlier this week quizzed by the CBI at her South Delhi farmhouse.
Radia, who was questioned for four hours, came under the scanner after her taped telephonic conversations with various influential people including industrialists, politicians and journalists became public.
The CBI has also questioned former Telecom Regulatory Authority of India chief Pradip Baijal, a 1966 batch IAS officer of Madhya Pradesh cadre, in connection with the case. The premises of Raja, Baijal and Radia were searched by the CBI earlier this month.