The Central Bureau of Investigation on Monday sent notices to former telecom minister A Raja and corporate lobbyist Niira Radia asking them to appear before the agency for questioning, and grilledformer Telecom Regulatory Authority of India chief Pradip Baijal in connection with the 2G spectrum scam.
"I am not afraid of the CBI. I am a lawyer. As a lawyer, I will abide by the law. I will not evade the law," Raja told mediapersons in Chennai.
Notices were sent to Raja and Radia among others in connection with the probe into allocation of spectrum to telecom firms that resulted in loss of at least Rs 22,000 crore to the exchequer.
Baijal, a 1966-batch IAS officer of Madhya Pradesh cadre, was questioned by CBI sleuths for about three-and-a-half hours at the agency's headquarters in Delhi. "I have given my clarifications to the CBI," he told reporters after the questioning. Asked what these clarifications were, an apparently agitated Baijal shot back, "Don't you understand English? No comments."
Raja was served notice at his official residence under section 160 of the criminal procedure code to appear before the agency for questioning. Under this section, the person is asked to join the investigation and share all information that he/she may have about a case.
The premises of Raja in Delhi and Tamil Nadu as also those of Baijal and Radia were searched by the CBI earlier this month in connection with the case.
So far, Raja's party, the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, has stood by him, though party chief M Karunanidhi has declared that if he is found guilty, action will be taken.
Forty-seven-year-old Raja was forced to resign as telecom minister on November 14 in the wake of the political storm following the Comptroller and Auditor General report that there was a loss of Rs.1.76 lakh crore as a result of 2G spectrum being allocated at undervalued prices.
The CBI has been asked by the Supreme Court to submit its status report on its investigations in the 2G spectrum case by February 10 when the matter will come up for hearing.
Rubbishing reports that he had sought anticipatory bail, the former telecom minister said, "I am not an accused and there is no question of my applying for an anticipatory bail."
"When I was here, I received a letter from the CBI and immediately I sent a letter that I am in Chennai. I am having some personal work and health checkup. I told them that whatever be the next date convenient to the CBI, I will come. It is up to the CBI now to tell me about the new date," Raja told mediapersons. He will need to explain among other things whether companies that were not eligible for spectrum were given 2G licences at prices set in 2001.
On Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh's statement at the Congress plenary session that "no guilty person will be spared", Raja said he was not competent to comment on that. About his meeting with the DMK chief M Karunanidhi on Saturday, he said, "It was a meeting between a leader and a cadre."
Raja had earlier in the day undergone a routine health checkup.