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Updated: November 15, 2010 10:53 IST

Telecom Minister Raja resigns from Cabinet

Special Correspondent
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“In order to avoid embarrassment to the Government and maintain peace and harmony in Parliament, my leader (DMK chief M Karunanidhi) has advised me to resign,” Mr. Raja said. File photo
PTI “In order to avoid embarrassment to the Government and maintain peace and harmony in Parliament, my leader (DMK chief M Karunanidhi) has advised me to resign,” Mr. Raja said. File photo

Ahead of an expected statement in Parliament on Monday, Minister for Communications and Information Technology A. Raja has handed over his resignation to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

The development follows hectic parleys between some senior Congress leaders and DMK chief and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi during the day. By evening on Sunday, the DMK leader advised Mr. Raja to submit his resignation.

This brings to a close one chapter of the drama that involved allegations of corruption in 2G spectrum allocation, although Mr. Raja continued to maintain that he was following the policy laid down by the previous National Democratic Alliance government and was not guilty of any wrong doing.

Raja: I will prove my innocence

Soon after tendering his resignation, Mr. Raja told journalists here that he had done what he had been advised to do by “my leader,” that is, DMK chief and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi. Mr. Raja said he was confident that his innocence would be established. “My conscience is clear and I have done nothing wrong.”

‘Tele-density had risen'

Mr. Raja pointed out that through his efforts in the Ministry tele-density had risen from about 300 million users, when he took charge, to over 700 million now. The rates per call for mobile telephone users had also fallen dramatically from Rs.1.60 to just 40 paise or less, with huge reductions in outstation telephone call charges.

The CAG report on the spectrum allocation, sent to President Pratibha Patil for her signature, is expected to be presented to Parliament on Monday or the next couple of days.

“Let PAC see report”

Senior Congress leaders have so far maintained that serious adverse remarks were made by the CAG even in its report in 2000 on the telecom sector when the then NDA government waived committed licence fees and allowed companies in this sector to migrate to a system of revenue sharing. At that time too, there were allegations of loss to the exchequer of thousands of crores of rupees. “In any case, the CAG report will be seen by the Public Accounts Committee chaired by senior BJP leader Murli Manohar Joshi,” a senior Congress leader in the government pointed out.

The Bharatiya Janata Party and the Left parties have welcomed the resignation of Mr. Raja, but there is no word yet on what will happen in Parliament that has been stalled since November 10.

Chennai Special Correspondent reports:

Mr. Karunanidhi said in Chennai that Mr. Raja was advised to quit with a view to safeguarding the country's parliamentary democracy.

Everyone had the responsibility to protect and nourish the dignity and neutrality of parliamentary democracy in India. If this principle suffered any blow, it was the duty of all to safeguard the principle, Mr. Karunanidhi said in a two-page statement issued late on Sunday night.

Reiterating that in the allocation of 2G spectrum, Mr. Raja had adhered to the procedures that were followed since 1999, the DMK leader said that despite offering such explanations several times, some were bent upon demanding Mr. Raja's resignation and disrupting the proceedings of Parliament. “A handful of people, not many, are enough to create this kind of confusion. And these people have planned to create a situation of bringing everything to a standstill by blocking the working of the administration of the United Progressive Alliance and functioning of Parliament.”

He noted that for the past one year allegations were being made against Mr. Raja and Parliament was getting disrupted over the issue.

Mr. Karunanidhi described Mr. Raja as one who had been following the path of E.V. Ramasamy, C.N. Annadurai and B.R. Ambedkar and who had demonstrated a sense of duty, fairness and straightforwardness.

More In: National | News | Tamil Nadu

So many scams were we watched till now. president should take action not to repeat again

from:  Siva kumar
Posted on: Nov 23, 2010 at 09:18 IST

Dr Manmohan Singh has at last got Mr Raja's resignation. But Dr Singh's name has been dragged quite often by Mr Raja in defending his modus operandi. Let us hope the JPC or whichever agency enquires into this scam clear the controversy so that in future we do not see repetition of taking names.

from:  S.R. MURALIDHARAN
Posted on: Nov 16, 2010 at 10:25 IST

A cabinet minister is accused of very serious corrupt practices. Yet the media and even the opposition parties do nor ask the Prime Minister how he allowed this to happen. The PM is treated as the "paramatma" who according to Hindu philosophy though always present in us and is a witness of the sins of the "jeevatma" in us, is not tainted by these sins.

from:  K.Vijayakumar
Posted on: Nov 16, 2010 at 06:21 IST

Mere resignation will do nothing to retrieve the public money lost. He should be made accountable for the loss and punished suitably.

from:  v.sridharan
Posted on: Nov 15, 2010 at 18:49 IST

BJP should force the government to cancel all the 2G licenses issued by Raja. The 2G spectrum should be auctioned afresh and the country should gain the lost money.

from:  Ram
Posted on: Nov 15, 2010 at 10:21 IST

This refers to the resignation of the Telecom Minister. Despite the indictment of the minister by the CAG and even after the whole country knows of the the mother of all scams, the time taken announce the resignation is regrettable. This too I believe happened only after the opposition party AIADMK extended her unconditional support to dismiss the minister!!

from:  Subramanian
Posted on: Nov 15, 2010 at 09:56 IST

This is necessary to all people

from:  yash
Posted on: Nov 15, 2010 at 08:12 IST

I have read that DoT has defended the 2G spectrum scam as all the guidelines have been followed. If it is so top officials who have made the guidelines to be punished as Mr. Raja

from:  kuthalingam
Posted on: Nov 15, 2010 at 07:30 IST

His resignation does NOT compensate the exchequer -- GOI must take steps to recover the loss and declare the contracts awarded by DOT as null and void.

from:  Jay Ravi
Posted on: Nov 15, 2010 at 07:19 IST

Simply resignation of Raja is not at all sufficient.

from:  Arvind
Posted on: Nov 15, 2010 at 07:01 IST

Should have been done earlier.

from:  Suresh
Posted on: Nov 15, 2010 at 06:55 IST

Its all a political game.....but with a relief news of the accused's resignation....

from:  Dr.K.Amritha
Posted on: Nov 15, 2010 at 06:34 IST

Good News !

from:  ssthanu
Posted on: Nov 15, 2010 at 06:28 IST

Thank you Mr.Raja.

from:  Vasu
Posted on: Nov 15, 2010 at 05:17 IST

Raja's resignation is not enough.Where did he "park" the millions given by the individuals and the companies? More skeletons have to fall yet.Will an effort be made to sweep everything under the carpet as usual? No point talking about India's rising or India has risen.India is a country full of filth, pollution and corruption. Indians keep re-electing the murderers,rapists and ill-mannered law makers.

from:  JAY JOLLY
Posted on: Nov 15, 2010 at 01:19 IST
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