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2G spectrum scam: CBI to question Raja on Friday

Source: PTI
December 22, 2010 22:30 IST
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Former telecom minister A Raja will appear on December 24 before officials of the Central Bureau of Investigation for questioning in connection with alleged irregularities in the allocation of 2G spectrum to certain telecom firms.

"I will appear before the CBI on December 24 at 10 am. I will appear for interrogation," Raja told reporters on Wednesday night.

CBI officials have sent a notice under Section 160 of the Criminal Procedure Code to Raja to appear before the investigating agency for questioning in the case.

"I had made the request for (appearance on) December 24 to the CBI and they have accepted it," said the DMK leader, who is at the centre of a controversy over his role in the spectrum allocation that has resulted in an estimated loss of at least Rs 22,000 crore to the state exchequer.

Earlier in the day, Raja said he will cooperate with the CBI. "I will cooperate with the investigating agency," Raja told reporters at the state guest house in Chennai before leaving for the national capital.

Raja is likely to be questioned about the need for preponing of dates for allocation of spectrum and, among other issues, 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.

The Supreme Court has asked CBI and the Enforcement Directorate to submit status reports on their investigations into the 2G scam to it by February 10, when the case will come up for hearing.

The Comptroller and Auditor General of India 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 the Central Vigilance Commission, which had referred the case to it.

Raja was forced to resign as telecom minister in the wake of the government auditor's report in November. Raja's questioning will come close on the heels of corporate lobbyist Niira Radia being quizzed by the CBI on Wednesday at her farmhouse in south Delhi.

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 in December.

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