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DMK leader A Raja in Aap Ki Adalat

Ready to serve life term if ill-gotten money is proved: A Raja
PTI | May 3, 2014, 10.24
A Raja's first exclusive interview on 2G scam: willing to serve life term, if ill-gotten money is proved

NEW DELHI: Former telecom minister A Raja, accused in the 2G spectrum case, has said he is ready to live his entire life in jail if any ill-gotten money is found with him.

Raja, who is contesting the Lok Sabha Elections from The Niligiris in Tamil Nadu, cited a report published an English daily in 2011 quoting CBI sources that he had kept Rs 3,000 crore abroad.

"The same day I went to the judge, showed him the newspaper report and said I want to challenge Income Tax, Enforcement Directorate and CBI if they find one rupee or a dollar in my name, I will not contest the case and I will live my entire life in jail," India TV quoted Raja as saying in a release on his interview.

Raja was arrested on February 2, 2011 and is under trial in an alleged mutli-crore 2G scam by CBI. He is out on bail now.

The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) had estimated that 2G licences allocated to companies under the tenure of Raja in 2008 caused the government a notional loss of about Rs 1.76 lakh crore. The calculations were based on the auction price that government got for 3G spectrum in 2010.

"The CAG failed to differentiate between 2G and 3G. 2G is meant for voice and 3G is meant for data (internet) transfer. You can't compare PDS rice with Basmati rice. The rates will be definitely be different," Raja said.

The Supreme Court of February 2, 2012 cancelled all licences allocated in 2008 and ordered fresh auction to allocate spectrum at market determined rates.

The auction of spectrum in November, 2012 and March, 2013 fetched bids of about Rs 13,000 crore. The last auction for 1800 Mhz (widely known as 2G spectrum) in February fetched government bids worth Rs 37,572 crore which as per present policy can also be used for 4G services.

Raja said whatever media portrayed as the biggest corruption is largely based on assumptions and not on the basis of record.

The former telecom minister alleged business cartels, whose business were going to be affected by 2G spectrum allocation, have targetted him.

"I think they might have been afraid of what Raja was going to do will have complete aberration on the business network that was created by these people. They may be afraid of, (and) injected through the media that Raja is doing this, this wrong," Raja said.

Raja claimed that it was because of him telecom call rates lowered to 50 paise per call. Basic call rates, without any scheme, are now 2 paise per second across most of the mobile operators.

"I am challenging through this forum. Let all these institutions come together (and say) Raja did wrong, Prime Minister's Office, Union Cabinet, Parliament, Planning Commission, CAG, CBI, Supreme Court, in all factors that were indicated in the charge sheet," Raja said.



Followed Cabinet Guidelines on Spectrum Allocation: A. Raja
03rd May 2014

A Raja's first exclusive interview on 2G scam: willing to serve life term, if ill-gotten money is proved

Former telecom minister A. Raja Saturday claimed the decisions in 2G spectrum allocation were taken in accordance with the existing telecom policy and cabinet guidelines and he had not kept the prime minister in the dark.

Answering queries in "Aap Ki Adalat" show on India TV, Raja said he had offered to serve life imprisonment if a single rupee was found in his name in an offshore account.

According to a press release issued by the news channel, Raja said during the interview that he was arrested on February 2, 2011, and a few days later, a leading daily carried a front page story quoting CBI sources that he had stashed Rs 3,000 crore abroad.

"The same day, I went to the judge, showed him the newspaper report and said, 'I want to challenge income tax (authorities), ED and CBI. If they find one rupee or a dollar in my name, I will not contest the case and I will live my entire life in jail'," Raja said. "In 2013, six months back, the CBI told the court that they raided me, my relatives and my friends, and they did not find any disproportionate money," he said.

Raja claimed he did not keep Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in the dark about the 2G spectrum allocation and everything was done in accordance with the telecom policy and cabinet guidelines. "The CAG failed to differentiate between 2G and 3G. 2G is meant for voice and 3G is meant for data transfer. You can't compare PDS rice with Basmati rice. The rates will definitely be different," he said.

Raja, who was jailed on corruption charges over the 2G spectrum allocation, is seeking re-election from Nilgiris Lok Sabha constituency in Tamil Nadu. Raja described as "odious" the comparison by a foreign magazine in its May 2011 issue of former Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi with him on the issue of corruption.

"They are comparing with Gaddafi. The comparison itself is odious. I did a revolution in the telecom sector. It is not unknown to history that a person who did revolution is often termed as a criminal or as a person who did a scam."

"It is unfortunate for this country whatever media wanted to put up as a biggest corruption or monumental scam, it is largely believed on the basis of assumptions and not on the basis of record. "I am not accusing any TV channel or media person... but my sincere appeal to them is, why do you want to call it scam, unless and until documents are there to prove that assumption is true or not."

Raja claimed it was he who lowered the telecom tariff to 50 paise a call and raised rural teledensity in India from eight per cent to 45 per cent. The former minister said he was probably a victim of some telecom operators whose business was going to be affected by the 2G spectrum allocation. "Definitely cartel forces must be behind it. Those who were losing the business, of course telecom is very big... You see the network. Rs 1 lakh crore, Rs 2 lakh crore per operator. I think that they might have been afraid of what Raja was going to do."



Ready to serve life term if ill-gotten money is proved: A Raja
4 May, 2014

A Raja's first exclusive interview on 2G scam: willing to serve life term, if ill-gotten money is proved

NEW DELHI: Former Telecom Minister A Raja, accused in the 2G spectrum case, has said he is ready to live his entire life in jail if any ill-gotten money is found with him. 

Raja, who is contesting the Lok Sabha Elections from The Niligiris in Tamil Nadu, cited a report published an English daily in 2011 quoting CBI sources that he had kept Rs 3,000 crore abroad. 

"The same day I went to the judge, showed him the newspaper report and said I want to challenge Income Tax, Enforcement Directorate and CBI if they find one rupee or a dollar in my name, I will not contest the case and I will live my entire life in jail," India TV quoted Raja as saying in a release on his interview. 

Raja was arrested on February 2, 2011 and is under trial in an alleged mutli-crore 2G scam by CBI. He is out on bail now. 

The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) had estimated that 2G licences allocated to companies under the tenure of Raja in 2008 caused the government a notional loss of about Rs 1.76 lakh crore. The calculations were based on the auction price that government got for 3G spectrum in 2010. 

"The CAG failed to differentiate between 2G and 3G. 2G is meant for voice and 3G is meant for data (internet) transfer. You can't compare PDS rice with Basmati rice. The rates will be definitely be different," Raja said. 

The Supreme Court of February 2, 2012 cancelled all licences allocated in 2008 and ordered fresh auction to allocate spectrum at market determined rates. 

The auction of spectrum in November, 2012 and March, 2013 fetched bids of about Rs 13,000 crore. The last auction for 1800 Mhz (widely known as 2G spectrum) in February fetched government bids worth Rs 37,572 crore which as per present policy can also be used for 4G services. 

Raja said whatever media portrayed as the biggest corruption is largely based on assumptions and not on the basis of record. 

The former telecom minister alleged business cartels, whose business were going to be affected by 2G spectrum allocation, have targetted him. 

"I think they might have been afraid of what Raja was going to do will have complete aberration on the business network that was created by these people. They may be afraid of, (and) injected through the media that Raja is doing this, this wrong," Raja said. 

Raja claimed that it was because of him telecom call rates lowered to 50 paise per call. Basic call rates, without any scheme, are now 2 paise per second across most of the mobile operators. 

"I am challenging through this forum. Let all these institutions come together (and say) Raja did wrong, Prime Minister's Office, Union Cabinet, Parliament, Planning Commission, CAG, CBI, Supreme Court, in all factors that were indicated in the charge-sheet," Raja said.