Updated: October 24, 2009 00:06 IST

Raja must resign: BJP, Left

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BJP spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad
The Hindu BJP spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad

The Bharatiya Janata Party and Left parties on Friday demanded that Telecom Minister A. Raja step down from office in the wake of a CBI probe into spectrum allocation.

The BJP, which initially said the government must ensure that the investigations were fair, on Friday said there were no grounds for the Minister to continue in office since the CBI was investigating into the case.

The Communist Party of India (Marxist) said it was shocking that Mr. Raja reiterated that he would continue in office despite the investigation. “The Minister cannot evade his responsibility and involvement in the matter when all his explanations for adopting the first-come-first-serve policy have proved baseless,” the party’s central committee said in a release. It said in the interests of having a fair probe, it was essential that the Minister not continue in office.

The CPI said the accusation in the allotment of 2G spectrum licences was that this resulted in a loss of over Rs. 60,000 crore. The party’s central secretariat said that when the Opposition raised the issue both in and outside Parliament, the government stonewalled everything.

“Now when investigation is on, in order to ensure a free and fair probe, it is necessary that the Telecom Minister must quit. Morally it has become untenable for him to remain as Minister,” the party said in a press release.

Meanwhile, the Congress sought to highlight the fact that Mr. Raja was not named in the FIR. Asked whether the party would demand action against Mr. Raja, Congress spokesman Manish Tewari said: ``The CBI has registered cases against some officials in the Department of Telecommunications, not the minister.”

As to whether it was proper for Mr. Raja to remain in office under the circumstances, Mr. Tewari shot back: ``The question of propriety will only extend to the people named in the FIR.”

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