New Delhi, Feb 4: Former telecom secretary Siddharth Behura has offered to disclose to the CBI everything he knows about the spectrum scam, reports Times of India.
Making the offer in a special CBI court, Behura`s counsel chose not to oppose the agency`s plea for five-day custody of the former telecom secretary for further interrogation.
"It is submitted that he (Behura) is innocent, however, prayer for police custody remand is not opposed as he is ready and willing to disclose everything before the investigating agency," Behura`s counsel S S Gandhi told the court.
Behura`s offer does not mean a willingness to turn approver, but could spell trouble for A Raja who — according to CBI sources — remains defiant and has dodged crucial questions from investigators.
Indeed, Gandhi was already distancing his client from the minister by saying Behura had opposed the controversial decision to change the date for submitting claims for telecom licences.
Raja, who along with his former personal secretary R K Chandolia and Behura was remanded to CBI for five days, continued with his defiance. His counsel opposed CBI`s plea for custody of the accused, saying he was innocent.
Ramesh Gupta, Raja`s lawyer, told CBI judge O P Saini that the former telecom minister was innocent and that all decisions regarding spectrum allocation were approved by the Cabinet and various statutory panels.Early on, Raja had got a booster of sorts when the DMK leadership in Chennai proclaimed him to be innocent.
Behura`s posture in the court, however, could take away from the comfort Raja may have drawn from the demonstration of solidarity in Chennai, and could help CBI get through the resistance the former minister has put up in the four sessions he has had with the agency.
Sources familiar with the details of his interrogation said the former minister has been evasive in response to questions from CBI officials, and has answered only those he wished to.Interrogators will like to confront him with the details that Behura may reveal.
In contrast to Raja`s alleged intransigence, Behura has been a portrait of reasonableness. His counsel emphasised in court that the former secretary had been cooperating with the CBI. "Whenever they called me, I have come and cooperated with the agency. I have nothing to hide," Gandhi quoted Behura as saying. His counsel claimed that Behura had no role in the conspiracy as all the decisions were already taken by the time he joined as telecom secretary.
He had joined the department only five days before the issuance of press release, Gandhi argued, stressing that Behura joined the department just 6 days before January 7, 2008, when the department of telecom brought forward the deadline for sumbmitting claims for licences: a move allegedly designed to benefit companies Raja favoured.
Later, Gandhi told TOI Behura had raised objection on the press release in writing, but was overruled by Raja. "He was told that all the decisions were already taken. All this communication was done in writing and is in the files along with the minister`s note," Gandhi said. The documents seized by CBI during the interrogation contain documented proof of the series of communication between Behura and Raja, Gandhi added.
Meanwhile, the court allowed Behura, whose wife is to undergo surgery for cancer at Apollo hospital, to see her before and after the operation on Saturday.