Centre's move attributed to pressure built by Opposition, court and public
The arrest of the former Communications Minister, A. Raja, has come after three years of the Opposition repeatedly raising the issue of wrongful allotment of licences and 2G spectrum since 2007-08 and the government stubbornly continuing to defend it, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) said here on Wednesday.
With pressure built by the Opposition parties and by the court and, above all, public opinion, the government had no option but to act against the former Minister, Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley said.
Volley of questions
Mr. Jaitley said he did not think the arrest was a ploy to blunt the party's demand for a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) probe into the matter.
“The JPC demand was on larger issues. How was this portfolio given to coalition partner DMK? Which lobbies were working to ensure that within the DMK Mr. Raja got the portfolio? Which interest groups were behind this?
“Had action been taken three years ago, the exchequer would not have lost thousands of crores. That loss could have been avoided,” Mr. Jaitley said.
In his view, the arrest was the culmination of evidence, collected by the Central Bureau of Investigation of blatantly wrong procedures followed in the allocation of licences and spectrum designed to benefit favourites.
Second time lucky
Even in the run-up to the 2009 Lok Sabha elections, the Left parties and the BJP raised the issue. The Prime Minister would have to explain why, despite the serious allegations, Mr. Raja once again got the Communications portfolio.
Party spokesperson Rajiv Pratap Rudy said the government did not deserve any credit for arresting Mr. Raja. He could not be alone in the racket that led to the exchequer being deprived of a huge amount of money. The entire conspiracy to defraud the nation must be exposed.