Former Union Communications Minister A. Raja, who is facing trial in the 2G spectrum allocation case in New Delhi, arrived to a rousing reception by the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) at the airport here on Friday evening.
Mr. Raja, who obtained court permission to be in Tamil Nadu up to June 30, arrived in Chennai after a year and four months. He was arrested in New Delhi on February 2, 2011. He was given conditional bail on May 15 this year.
DMK cadre reached the airport in large numbers in vans, cars and buses, with the police video-graphing every vehicle that brought them.
Many among the hundreds of DMK workers who thronged the airport were seen carrying banners and placards. Some were seen wearing vests and T-shirts hailing Mr. Raja as ‘Tiharai vendra theerane' (braveheart who conquered Tihar) and ‘Tamizhinathin maravane' (soldier of the Tamil race). They raised slogans welcoming him.
A music troupe was in attendance and the DMK workers danced to its tunes.
Mr. Raja's flight landed around 5.30 p.m. Soon after reaching the terminal building, he spent nearly half an hour in the lounge. The moment he came out, DMK workers tried to push everyone aside and move towards the vehicle that was to carry Mr. Raja to the city.
The vehicle was unable to move for some time as it was surrounded by enthusiastic DMK workers.
He accepted shawls from DMK functionaries and it took nearly 15 minutes for the vehicle to come out of the airport premises.
Mr. Raja met DMK president M. Karunanidhi at the party headquarters Anna Arivalayam here. The party leader welcomed him with a garland in the presence of DMK functionaries.
Later, when reporters asked him how he felt on meeting Mr. Raja after a gap of over a year, Mr. Karunanidhi said: “I have the same feeling that an elder brother will have when he meets his younger brother after nearly a year…”
The former minister, who initially declined to take questions that may have a bearing on the 2G case trial, later rejected the charge that he caused Rs.1.76 lakh crore loss in the allotment of spectrum and telecom licences.
The charges framed did not mention any loss to the exchequer but pertained to the abuse of power.
No court had charged him for the notional loss of 1.76 crore.
It had not been substantiated or admitted by the trial court.
The huge figure was mentioned only by the media. “I have not faced any setback in the case,” he averred.
He pledged continuing loyalty to his leader and said that he re-read Mr. Karunanidhi's memoirs, ‘Nenjukku Neethi', in prison and gained great strength from it.
“I drew moral strength from it so that I can defend my case and emerge clean from the charges.”
Asked whether Mr. Raja would be given a role in active politics, the DMK president answered in the affirmative.
To a question on what would be his role in the party, Mr. Raja said whatever the party president directed him to do, he would carry it out.