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05 March 2024

Indian police arrests former telecom minister

By Agencies

Indian police have arrested former telecom minister A Raja who is implicated in a giant scam over the sale of mobile phone licences, media reports said on Wednesday. 

He was questioned by the CBI on Wednesday morning for  his alleged role in the 2G spectrum scam. This was the second time he was interrogated this week. Two of his close aides, former telecom secretary Siddharth Behuria and RK Chandolia were also arrested, according to NDTV.

Though the spectrum scam had loomed over his ministry since the sale of 2G frequency to telecom operators in 2008, it was in November 2010 that Raja finally exited the government.  What pushed him through the out-door was a report by the government's auditor which concluded that as Telecom Minister, Raja under-valued spectrum and sold it to companies that he favoured even though they were largely ineligible for licenses to run mobile networks.

Earlier this week, a report by a one-man commission, Justice Shivraj Patil, was handed over to new Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal.  Justice Patil was asked in December to look into whether officials in the Telecom Ministry had, since 1991, violated government procedures and guidelines for allocating spectrum. In 1991, the NDA government was in inquiry extends to the pre-UPA era as well.

Justice Patil said on record that his report did indict some officials in the Telecom Ministry. Sources say he has linked A Raja to their violations.

Raja's homes and offices in New Delhi and Tamil Nadu have been raided by the CBI over the last few weeks. Computers were reportedly seized as part of the evidence that the CBI plans to present against him.