In the 106-page note, written four months ago, Raja claims he was being prosecuted ‘without being heard’
In what some JPC members term as a “face-saving measure”, P.C. Chacko — chairman of the Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) investigating the 2G scam — last week purportedly circulated among the panel members a 106-page note written, four months ago, by prime accused and ex-Telecom Minister A Raja.
The note was circulated ahead of the JPC’s meeting on September 23 which sources believe will be the final one. Members in the JPC, however, told The Hindu that Bharatiya Janata Party leader Yashwant Sinha and Communist Party of India leader Gurudas Dasgupta are likely to demand the rewriting of the entire report, which Mr. Dasgupta has described as “a mischievous cover-up of the uncomfortable dimensions of the 2G scam”.
Repeated demands by members and pleas by Mr. Raja — he had made several to Mr. Chacko and Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar — that he be given a hearing as witness before the JPC were denied, ostensibly, due to shortage of time. But he was not called in even during the 100-day extension given to the JPC in the summer of 2013. Therefore, in May, claiming he was being prosecuted “without being heard”, Mr. Raja had submitted the detailed 106-page note, in which he made startling revelations about meetings with the Prime Minister and the Finance Minister between December 2007 and January 2008 in the run-up to the 2G spectrum scam.
It is learnt that while he did not allow the JPC members to cross-examine Mr. Raja, Mr. Chacko himself spoke to former Telecom Minister individually. JPC members strongly believe that a cross examination would reveal collusion of top politicians and government officials in the scandal.
JPC members also say there is evidence to show that Finance Minister P. Chidambaram could have made use of a number of legal provisions if he wanted to put his foot down and restrain Mr. Raja.
To back this up, a JPC member said: “This is clearly indicated by the Finance Ministry Office Memorandum which was leaked during Pranab Mukherjee’s tenure as Finance Minister, which lists, in several places, the failure of the Finance Ministry to restrain Mr. Raja.”
“Attorney General G.E. Vahanvati could also be deeply implicated in the scandal if Mr. Raja is allowed to speak before the JPC. There is also strong documentary evidence that even the Prime Minister, approved Mr. Raja’s illegal and arbitrary actions in writing, on file,” he added.
Opposition members allege Mr. Chacko acted arbitrarily and with the intent of preventing the government from greater embarrassment in refusing to call Mr. Raja as a witness.
“The circulation of Mr. Raja’s note four-month-old note to the members at the very last moment is a face-saving measure by Mr. Chacko, aimed at blunting the edge of further criticism that he is bound to face at the next meeting for this unexplained delay,” the JPC member said. Mr. Chacko could not be reached for his comments.