|‘I named 2G front cos to PM in 2009’|
|Friday, 11 February 2011 00:00|
Former telecom minister Arun Shourie revealed here on Thursday that the moment he got to know how big the A Raja spectrum scam was, he apprised Prime Minister Manmohan Singh of it and, subsequently, alerted the then CBI director.
Speaking at Idea Exchange, a newsroom interaction with the staff of The Indian Express and The Financial Express, Shourie said that not only did he tell the PM, he even introduced the CBI to a key informant who, he claimed, knew each detail of who paid how much, how it was paid, which the front companies were, and so on. All of this happened towards the middle and the end of 2009, Shourie said.
Two years earlier, Shourie said, both the PM and Pranab Mukherjee had summoned then Trai chief Nripendra Misra, who had told them Raja was wrong to claim that he was going by Trai’s recommendations.
“A person very close to the deals started giving out a detailed account of all the companies that received undue favours”, Shourie said, declining to name the individual. “Armed with those details (of front companies), I met the PM in the Rajya Sabha around August-September 2009... I told the PM showing him details and papers in the Rajya Sabha corridor. Please have a look at these details. There is a loot going on in your name and all the evidence is here,” Shourie said.
He said that he then asked the PM if he could call on principal secretary TKA Nair to give these details. When no call came for over a month, “I contacted the then CBI director Ashwini Kumar. Despite receiving death threats, the individual I introduced was ready to give out all the information... Even after getting all the information, the CBI didn't act against Raja. When I asked the CBI why it was not acting, I was told they were waiting for the PMO’s nod.” Of course, he added, when the “meteor” called the CAG report fell on the government, it had no option but to act: “Raja was then indefensible and was made to resign.”
Asked whether he felt that the CBI investigation was on the right track now, Shourie said the reason why the CBI was moving so fast was because it had all the key information way back in 2009 and had found it to be correct. “With the Supreme Court monitoring the case, the CBI’s investigation is on the right track, and if the CBI is acting fast today, it is because it already had all the information,” Shourie said. The companies being raided now, he said, were the same that figured in the list he had when he met the Prime Minister.
Rubbishing the Justice Shivraj Patil report which said Shourie had not conducted auctions even though that was the stated policy, Shourie said all licences which were issued were with Cabinet approval. This was recorded in the files, but not all of them were made available to the CAG, he said, and presumably they were not made available to Patil either. Shourie, who has called up the CBI on various occasions to offer his assistance, said that he is going to meet the CBI on February 21. “I offered to meet them yesterday, but the officers said they had to prepare for their Court appearance. After I meet them, I will tell the press the exact questions they asked along with my reply.”