The former Union Communications Minister, A. Raja's former Additional Private Secretary, Aseervatham Achary, was questioned on his delayed entry as a witness, and his motives and political aspirations by defence counsel in the special CBI court, hearing the 2G spectrum case here, on Wednesday.
Ram Jethmalani, appearing for Rajya Sabha member Kanimozhi, asked Mr. Achary, who in an earlier statement said he was a fighter against corruption: “Did you voluntarily go to the CBI or were you summoned?” To this, the witness said he was called on the phone by the CBI and he knew why he was being called, as a first information report had already been filed.
Mr. Jethmalani reminded the witness that the 2G scam case was first filed as a writ petition in the Supreme Court. “Did you realise then that you should do your duty like other public spirited people? You came to know about the CBI investigation in 2009, but you did not appear for two years before they found you out…Why didn't you heed the call of your conscience then?” Counsel further said: “You must have read in the papers about the CVC [Central Vigilance Commission] enquiry and you also remember the Shivraj Patil Committee that was created to look into this matter? You never found it in the public interest to go to this Committee then? You as a fighter against corruption did not find it necessary to go to these two bodies?”
Mr. Achary firmly said he did not think it “proper” to go to the investigation agency if he was not called. But throughout those two years he knew “deep in his heart” that he would one day be summoned to give evidence, and he decided long ago that he would be a witness if and when called.
Mr. Achary replied in the negative to a question whether he knew of any enquiry into disproportionate assets and corruption that was being instituted against him by the Railways. “Mr. Achary, did the CBI accuse you of having disproportionate assets? Is this a threat by the CBI, making you give evidence?” This question received a firm ‘no.'
Another question put to Mr. Achary, who earlier testified to a rift between Mr. Raja and the former Telecom Secretary D. S. Mathur, was: “When the CBI recorded your statement, did you meet Mr. Mathur? And did the CBI ask you about any rift…? When Mr. Mathur was examined by the CBI, he refused to tell them about any rift, then the CBI told you that only you can oblige and you did,” Mr. Jethmalani said.
The political aspirations of Mr. Achary, expressed through his conversations recorded in the Niira Radia tapes, were another bone of contention. For, Mr. Achary earlier testified that the former corporate lobbyist had communicated to him on the the phone that she had arranged to put Kalaignar TV on the Tata Sky platform. The tapes record Ms. Radia asking him whether he intends joining the Congress or “these people” which, he confirmed, meant the DMK.
“My reply to this was the Congress…It is correct that I was having ambition of entering Parliament through the Congress party,” said Mr. Achary.
Keywords: 2G spectrum case trial