As the mud-slinging battle continues, with the former telecom minister fighting to stay out of jail, A Raja has now accused attorney general G E Vahanvati for taking bribes as a representative for DoT in the 2G case. Known for recently adjudicating that heavy fines should be slapped on operators involved in the 2G scam, along with their licenses being withdrawn, if Raja’s latest claims are to believed, Vahanvati has fallen into his own bowl of soup.
A day after he named PM Manmohan Singh and home minister P Chidambaram as key players in the 2G scam, stating that Chidambaram, the former FM had cleared the stake sale by telcos for 2G in PM Manmohan Singh’s presence, A Raja claimed on Tuesday that after standing for the DoT on issues of spectrum allocation, attorney general Vahanvati has now reversed his position under pressure.
Raja was quoted as saying in the court on Tuesday, “For three years, the then Solicitor General made money by appearing for the DoT, for the government and defending this case but now suddenly, under pressure or for whatever reasons, he gives such a statement which even a rustic villager would throw out.” He also insisted that Vahanvati be made a witness in the 2G scam case.
According to a statement made by Vahanvati to the CBI, Raja forged changes in a press statement after it had been cleared by Vahanvati, and used the amended note to change the eligibility criteria for 2G spectrum allocation, favouring certain telecom companies. Raja denied this accusation.
While Vahanvati refused to comment on Raja’s accusations, the tainted telecom minister continued with his ranting, criticizing the Supreme Court for its handling of the 2G case. According to the ex-minister, there was undue interference in the trial court proceedings of the 2G scam case, which made the trial unfair and sensational. He urged the court to instead use its -judicial conscience’ and disallow any outside interference in the proceedings from other law-enforcement agencies.
The BJP has called for the stepping down of home minister P Chidambaram following the accusations by A Raja on Monday. The opposition party had earlier called for the stepping down of PM Manmohan Singh also earlier, following accusations that he was involved in the 2G case. Meanwhile, the DMK party – which Raja was formerly a member of, now stands divided on his recent accusations in court again the PM and home minister.
Proceedings in the special CBI court are currently underway, following the filing of the third chargesheet in the 2G spectrum case. The 2G scam, which comprises of an INR 30,984 crore loss to the exchequer in the allocation of 2G spectrum, due to 2G spectrum being given out in 2008 at 2001 prices, has been intensified by the number of organizations and top corporate personalities and journalists involved in the case, including 8 well-known operators, namely, Unitech, Swan Telecom, Loop Telecom, Videocon Telecommunications, STel, Reliance Communications, Essar and MTS.
By Beryl M