Mr Shourie’s questions PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 07 February 2011 00:00
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The Prime Minister was told about not just the extent of the A Raja scam way back in 2009 but was even given names of various front companies, which formed part of the money trail that CBI is following today. CBI met a key informant who gave it all the details of the money trail by the end of 2009. Even prior to this, in 2007, the then Trai chief Nripendra Misra met the Prime Minister and other senior ministers, including Pranab Mukherjee, to explain to them that when Raja said he was merely following Trai recommendations, this was not true. Former telecom minister Arun Shourie made these disclosures at the Express Group’s Idea Exchange on Thursday. Shourie was responding to charges made by the UPA that Raja was merely following the policy of his predecessors, and that though it is true the NDA government had said in 2003 that all future mobile licences would be auctioned, the NDA itself violated the rule—Shourie was the minister when this violation was supposed to have taken place. Shourie says that after apprising the Prime Minister of the Raja details, he himself met the CBI chief to give him details and knows that CBI got all the details of the money trail from the informant Shourie introduced to it.

Given the level of detail Shourie says he has—he is meeting CBI officials later this month to give his account of events, including documents he says were not given to the CAG while it was preparing its report—it is incumbent upon the government to address the issues he is raising. Indeed, for the Court, which is monitoring the CBI’s progress, it may be worth asking CBI why it slept on the information it had for more than a year. Ironically, while the Prime Minister’s letter to Raja asking him to auction spectrum is there in the public domain, telecom minister Kapil Sibal is on the record saying the Prime Minister never asked Raja to auction spectrum. It would be interesting to see if the government’s response to this latest salvo will be as ham-handed as its handling of the Raja case so far, like claiming Raja did nothing wrong and then arresting him later, or first saying Raja’s non-auction policy was a good idea but later announcing that all future spectrum allocations would be based on auctions.


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