New Delhi/Mumbai, Feb 13 (PTI) Former Telecom Minister and senior BJP leader Arun Shourie will appear before the CBI for questioning on February 21 in connection with the agency's probe into possible criminal aspects in the telecom policy since 2001.
"I rung up the CBI director Mr A P Singh and told him that because you are questioning people like Pradip Baijal (then TRAI Chairman), Vinod Vaish who was the secretary(of telecom ministry) at that time you would want to question me," Shourie said today. Shourie had held the telecom portfolio between January 2003 and May 2004 in the NDA regime.
The Central Bureau of Investigation approached Shourie last week asking him to appear before it in connection with the Preliminary Enquiry(PE) registered by the agency following a direction from the Supreme Court.
The PE was registered against "unknown persons" with an aim to ascertaining as to whether or not the "first-come-first-serve basis" provision passed by the then
Cabinet led by Atal Bihari Vajpayee was followed, officials in New Delhi said .
Shourie said that someone from the CBI had called his home when he was away and that he later conveyed to the agency that he will be appearing before it on February 21 after his return from Kolkata.
BJP spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad said the party had nothing to hide and is open for enquiry. Prasad however said he differed with Shourie's comments
that he had informed top BJP leaders like Arun Jaitley and Sushma Swaraj about the 2G scam in 2007 but they had kept quiet.
"We raised this issue in the Parliament and outside. What the BJP has done over this issue is for everybody to see. I disagree with Shourie's comments," he told reporters in Mumbai.
The CBI was likely to go into the minutes of the meetings held by successive Telecom Ministers which included late Pramod Mahajan, Shourie and Dayanidhi Maran.
According to the CBI, nearly 50 licences were given out on the first-come-first-serve basis and Bharti, Vodafone and Idea were among the beneficiaries of the policy.
The CBI would go into the documents of the companies who have been awarded the contracts.
Shourie said that he would be handing over some documents to the CBI during his appearance before the agency on February 21.
The Supreme Court had on December 16 last year directed the agency to widen its investigation to cover the grant of licences by both the NDA and the UPA regimes between 2001-2007 and submit a report.
Shourie had said he was not sure what made the apex court widen the scope of the probe from 2001. PT