CBI gets two more days for questioning Raja (Lead)

February 8th, 2011 - 10:24 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Feb 8 (IANS) A Delhi court Tuesday allowed the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to keep former communications minister A. Raja in its custody and question him for two more days over the 2G spectrum scam.Raja was brought to the Patiala House courts complex at the end of his five-day CBI custody, and after the hearing CBI Judge O.P. Saini granted the agency his custody till Feb 10.

The 47-year-old DMK MP, wearing a grey safari suit, greeted the judge with folded hands when his name was called to mark his presence in the case.

The court said: “It is a case in which allegations are that the acts of the accused caused loss to the state Exchequer to the tune of Rs.22,000 crores in the grant of unified service access licences (to telecom operators) by misuse of his official position. Naturally, it is a complex case based on documents and at the relevant time accused (A. Raja) was the minister in charge of the department.”

Raja’s two aides - Siddharth Behura and R.K. Chandolia - have been sent to 14 days’ judicial custody.

The CBI earlier sought Raja’s custody for four more days but the court allowed only two more days for questioning.

“Since documents are still to be recovered and Raja is required for further investigation, he may be remanded to our custody for four more days,” said CBI counsel.

The CBI said it planned to confront Raja with other suspects, witnesses and staff of department of telecommunications.

Opposing the CBI’s plea, Raja’s advocate Ramesh Gupta said: “No document is alleged to be in the custody of the accused and no recovery is to be effected from him.”

“Raja has already been in CBI custody for five days and further custody is unnecessary. Raja has not made any disclosure statement and is not in a position to get anything recovered,” said Gupta.

Gupta said: “In the CBI application, I do not find any report on which the CBI should get further custody of my client. In five days, the CBI has only confronted Raja with two of his aides. Therefore, no further custody should be granted as the Supreme Court is also monitoring this case.”

He said the CBI should be allowed to keep Raja in its custody only if there was specific information or documents to confront him with.

CBI counsel said: “We have a case diary and a status report of the investigation, but it is not necessary to be given to counsel or the accused. As we are investigating the matter, we have all the power to keep Raja in our custody to unearth the conspiracy in the 2G scam.”

Raja, his secretary Chandolia and former telecom secretary Behura were sent to CBI custody for five days by a special court here Feb 3. They were arrested Feb 2 over the allocation of airwaves for second generation phone services that the probe agency said caused a loss of Rs.22,000 crore to the national exchequer.

Raja is alleged to have sold spectrum licences at below market rates. He was asked to resign Nov 14 last year after the Comptroller and Auditor General indicted him in the scam for causing the huge losses.

Many of Raja’s supporters were seen present in court during the hearing.

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