Premises of Niira Radia, Raja's kin searched

FOLLOW-UP: Jegath Gaspar Raj, founder of Tamil Maiyam, coming out of his office at Mylapore in Chennai on Wednesday after the CBI searched the premises. Photo: R. Ravindran   | Photo Credit: R_RAVINDRAN

As part of its ongoing probe into the 2G spectrum scam, the Central Bureau of Investigation on Wednesday carried out searches in Delhi, Noida and Tamil Nadu in several companies, on the residential and official premises of their directors and the residence of the former Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) chairman.

“Searches conducted so far at around 34 places in Tamil Nadu, Delhi and Noida have led to the recovery of incriminating documents. Searches are still going on,'' CBI spokesperson Vinita Thakur said in a brief statement.

The agency conducted searches at the office of corporate lobbyist Niira Radia, the former TRAI chairman, Pradip Baijal, and a Chennai NGO. The office of Niira Radia — Vaishnavi Corporate Communications in Central Delhi — and her farmhouse in South Delhi were among the premises searched, sources said. They added that Mr. Baijal, Ms. Radia and two suspected hawala dealers Mahesh Jain and Alok Jain were also quizzed by the CBI sleuths.

Wednesday's operation was described as a “follow-up” to the searches conducted on December 8.

Mr. Baijal, who retired in 2006 and later joined Ms. Radia's company Noesis, also faced the heat of the CBI searches as he is alleged to have helped some telecom firms during his tenure as TRAI chief. Mr. Baijal is a former IAS officer from the Madhya Pradesh cadre.

Nakkeeran, Tamil Maiyam under scanner

The searches were also carried out on the premises of Kamaraj, Associate Editor of Chennai-based Tamil magazine Nakkeeran; A. Ramachandran, brother of the former Telecom Minister, A. Raja; and Vijayambal, his sister, near Tiruchi; and at Tamil Maiyam, an NGO with which Kanimozhi, MP and daughter of DMK chief and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi is said to be associated.

Report by March-end

Earlier this month, the CBI conducted searches at the residence of Mr. Raja and five of his aides and associates, including his then personal secretary, R.K. Chandolia, as it intensified its probe into the 2G spectrum scam. The agency has told the Supreme Court that it will wind up the investigations within the country by the end of March 2011 and submit a report to the court.

The agency registered a case on October 21, 2009 against unknown officials of the Department of Telecommunications and unknown private persons and companies and others under Section 120-B (criminal conspiracy) of the IPC and Section 13 (1) (d) of the Prevention of Corruption Act. According to the CAG report, the rates at which 2G spectrum was allotted resulted in a possible loss to the exchequer of Rs 1.76 lakh crore, though the agency has estimated the loss to the exchequer, based on the findings of the Central Vigilance Commission, to be close to Rs. 22,000 crore.

ED cooperation

During the searches and the ongoing probe, the CBI officials also received cooperation from the Enforcement Directorate (ED). Official sources said a team of ED officials joined in the search operations on Wednesday.

Sources in the agency did not rule out the possibility of the probe extending to some foreign countries and said that the CBI, after examining the documents and evidence gathered so far, would approach the appropriate court for issuing Letter Rogatory, seeking cooperation from the foreign countries.

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Printable version | Oct 19, 2021 8:13:32 PM |

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