New Delhi: The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Monday sent notices to former telecom minister A Raja and corporate lobbyist Niira Radia asking them to appear before the agency for questioning while grilling former Trai chief Pradip Baijal in connection with the 2G spectrum scam.
“I am not afraid of CBI. I am a lawyer. As a lawyer, I will abide by the law. I will not evade the law,” Raja told reporters in Chennai.
Notices were sent to Raja and Radia among others in connection with the probe into allocation of spectrum to telecom firms that resulted in loss of at least Rs 22,000 crore to the exchequer.
Baijal, a 1966-batch IAS officer of Madhya Pradesh cadre, was questioned by CBI sleuths for about three and a half hours at the agency’s headquarters in Delhi.
“I have given my clarifications (to CBI),” he told reporters after the questioning. Asked what these clarifications were, an apparently agitated Baijal shot back, “don’t you understand English” and said “no comments”.
Raja was served notice at his official residence under section 160 of Criminal Procedure Code to appear before the agency for questioning.
Under this section, the person is asked to join the investigation and share all information that he/she may have about a case.
The premises of Raja in Delhi and Tamil Nadu as also those of Baijal and Radia were searched by the CBI earlier this month in connection with the case.
So far, Raja’s party, the DMK, has stood by him, though party chief M Karunanidhi has declared that if he is found guilty, action will be taken.
47-year-old Raja was forced to resign as Telecom minister on 14 November in the wake of the political storm following the CAG report that there was a loss of Rs 1.76 lakh crore as a result of 2G spectrum being allocated at undervalued prices.
The CBI has been asked by the Supreme Court to submit its status report on its investigations in the 2G spectrum case by February 10 when the matter will come up for hearing.
Dismissing as “rubbish” reports that he had sought anticipatory bail, the former Telecom minister said, “I am not an accused and there is no question of my applying for an anticipatory bail”.
“When I was here, I received a letter from the CBI and immediately I sent a letter that I am in Chennai. I am having some personal work and health check-up. I told them that whatever be the next date convenient to the CBI, I will come...It is up to the CBI now to tell me about the new date,” Raja told reporters.
Raja will need to explain among other things whether companies that were not eligible for spectrum were given 2G licences at prices set in 2001.
On Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s statement at the Congress plenary session today that “no guilty person will be spared”, Raja said he was not competent to comment on that.
About his meeting with the DMK chief M Karunanidhi on Saturday, he said, “It was a meeting between a leader and a cadre. It is natural that cadre meet its leader”.
Raja had earlier in the day undergone a routine health checkup.