Followed cabinet guidelines on spectrum allocation: A. Raja
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 Feb 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 percent to 45 percent.
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."
(Posted on 04-05-2014)