"My testimony will bring out the truth, including the fact that all decisions were taken collectively"

The former Telecom Minister, A. Raja, has written to JPC Chairman P.C. Chacko, expressing surprise at his being prevented from testifying before the Joint Parliamentary Committee investigating the 2G scam. Referring to the allegations that he ignored/disregarded the advice of the Law Minister and the Finance Minister, as also that he misled the Prime Minister, Mr. Raja argues that his testimony will bring out the truth, including the fact “that all decisions were taken collectively…”

Mr. Raja, accused of causing the 2G scam, recently wrote to Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar questioning the stance taken by some government officials — especially Attorney-General G.E. Vahanvati — during their depositions, and accusing them of “blame shifting” by delivering false and misleading evidence, even as he requested that he be called before the JPC as a witness.

However, on March 8, the JPC chief, rather than inviting Mr. Raja to the JPC, sought only his written deposition, limited to the AG’s testimony, without so much as providing a copy of Mr. Vahanvati’s deposition. Pointing to this lapse, Mr. Raja has “respectfully” submitted “that the JPC is proceeding without regard to fundamental principles of natural justice.”

Expressing “surprise” at Mr. Chacko’s letter, Mr. Raja says: “It does not address any of the issues I have raised in my letter; indeed, it does not even refer to my letter. Rather it has asked for my written response to only one specific issue, in relation to the statement of the Ld. Attorney General for India.”

Drags in PM, FM

Attacking the CBI for its tardy investigation, Mr. Raja highlights that “There are allegations against me that I ignored/disregarded the advice of the Hon’ble Law Minister and the Ministry of Finance, and also that I misled the Hon’ble Prime Minister, though no statement has been recorded from them to that effect by the CBI or by the JPC.”

Confirming the worst fears of the UPA government and its members on the committee, especially Mr. Chacko, Mr. Raja goes on to express his confidence, “that if given an opportunity to appear before the JPC, I will establish that these allegations were misconceived and all decisions were taken collectively by the Department of Telecom with the express or tacit consent of other senior functionaries of the government.”

Questions JPC intent

Accusing the committee of displaying a predetermined mind, Mr. Raja writes: “It would appear that the JPC has already reached a conclusion on this issue without even hearing my evidence. I would call upon you to proceed with an open mind, in the interest of a fair enquiry and not to reach any premature conclusions.”

Questioning the very intention of the committee, the DMK MP says: “I have to wonder why the JPC is reluctant to hear my deposition on the entire gamut of issues that it is supposed to be looking into.” Reminding Mr. Chacko of the JPC’s mandate, he says, “After all, the purpose of JPC is [to] arrive at the truth of the matter, and my unique position to explain the policy and rationale of the government behind the issuance of UAS licences and grant of spectrum, as well as the sequence of events and the role of various individuals and institutions, cannot be overstated.”

Demanding a copy of Mr. Vahanvati’s deposition, Mr. Raja has reiterated his demand, “to appear before the JPC and tender my evidence in full.” While he understands that the committee “is anxious to complete its deliberations, this cannot be at the cost of sacrificing the truth,” he warned. “The whole point of constituting this JPC would be lost if it concludes its deliberations without hearing my deposition.”