New Delhi, Jan 20 (IANS) Calling former Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) Vinod Rai a “murderer”, former Union Telecom Minister A. Raja on Saturday said Rai should be prosecuted for “cheating”.
“There was a big conspiracy that has to be probed. Vinod Rai should be prosecuted for cheating,” Raja said here at the launch of his book “2G Saga Unfolds”, wherein he has presented “my side of the story”.
Raja was last month acquitted by a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court in the alleged 2G spectrum allocation scam.
He held Rai guilty of his “political murder” as it was an adverse report by Rai in 2010 as the then CAG that pegged the loss to exchequer due to underselling of spectrum at Rs 1.76 lakh crore and which resulted in massive public anger against the Manmohan Singh-led UPA-II government.
Rai’s report said the licences allocated by the Telecom Ministry in 2008, then headed by A. Raja, were based on 2001 prices, causing the exchequer a massive revenue loss.
Subsequently, the Supreme Court cancelled all the licences issued to telecom companies, an FIR was lodged by the CBI and Raja was jailed along with DMK patriarch Karunanidhi’s daughter Kanimozhi and others.
Raja said in his view the 2G scandal was initially a corporate war which then turned into a political war, and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had been the biggest beneficiary of this war.
Asked why he had not criticised the BJP or any of its leaders, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, scathingly in the book, although he conceded that the BJP had been its biggest beneficiary, Raja said: “I have criticised Arun Jaitley and Murli Manohar Joshi but why should I jump to Narendra Modi who was sitting in Gujarat?”
Refuting allegations of going soft on the BJP, he also ruled out any friendship with the pro-Hindutva party in near future as “DMK believes in social secularism” and he could “say it with conviction”.
Raja admitted that he had a “grievance” against Congress leaders P. Chidambaram and Pranab Mukherjee for not coming out in his defence although, though both of them knew the “facts”.
However, Raja bears no ill feeling for then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh who also distanced himself from Raja and his Ministry at the peak of the 2G controversy.
“In the then prevailing situation, the Prime Minister (Manmohan Singh) could not do anything. I think three things were responsible for it — adverse comments from the Supreme Court, some Cabinet colleagues filling his ears and pressure from the media,” Raja said.
“But I made it a point to present the first copy of this book to Dr. Manmohan Singh. It was only through his cooperation that I was able to break the telecom operators’ cartel and bring down the tariffs. When I went to see him, he embraced me and almost broke down. He realised that wrong had been done to A. Raja,” Raja added.
He said that the book should be read without any political spectacles, with just “reading glasses”, to be able to see merit in his arguments.
Raja said that his acquittal by the court had been a “relief” for the Congress but a “boon” for his party Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK).