CBI raising unnecessary hue and cry over Tata: Behura

July 28th, 2011 - 6:52 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan Singh New Delhi, July 28 (IANS) Former telecom secretary Siddhartha Behura, in jail for his alleged connection to the 2G spectrum scam, Thursday accused the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) of raising an unnecessary “hue and cry” over the Tata group being initially refused a 2G licence.

The CBI had alleged that Tata, which applied for the licence March 4, 2008, had been eliminated in an unfair manner but the group had already admitted that they were late in filing the application. “Then why is the CBI accusing Behura,” the former telecom secretary’s lawyer Aman Lekhi asked in the special CBI court here.

“I don’t understand why there is a hue and cry about Tata. Are they above the law and different from other bidders? Does it not amount to corruption,” Lekhi, appearing on Behura’s behalf, asked.

Arguing before Special Judge O.P. Saini, Lekhi said that it was deputy director general of telecom A.K. Srivastava who supervised all the operations undertaken in issuing the licences.

“It was Srivastava who wrote a letter on Dec 26, 2007, mentioning the policy directive and saying that this would be treated as the final decision…It is on the record,” said Lekhi.

“How can Behura be accused of conspiracy? How does this appeal to common sense?”

The lawyer also argued that it was the responsibility of the Wireless Planning and Coordination (WPC) wing of the telecom department to distribute the licences and that Behura had no role to play in it.

“Each ministry works with different departments and every department has its own set of responsibilities…How can he (Behura) be blamed for favouring Swan Telecom when he had no role to play?” asked Lekhi.

Behura opposed the CBI allegations that R.J.S Kushwaha, a WPC officer was intentionally transferred.

Kushwaha was among those who were handling the issue of spectrum allocation to Swan Telecom. It was alleged that the official was transferred as he did not allot spectrum to Swan Telecom.

“It is incorrect to say that the officer was transferred. Behura had no animosity towards him,” said Lekhi.

Raising questions over the probe agency’s concern for Kushwaha, Lekhi said: “Why is the CBI sympathising with a person who lied about all the meetings…to whom missing (Tata) files are attributed and the one who acted in direct contravention to orders from the WPC wing.”

“Who is eligible or not, was the opinion of law officer (the then solicitor general and present Attorney General G.E. Vahanvati). How Behura can be made an accused. If government’s legal officer is giving a wrong opinion, then why is my client being accused,” he asked.

Lekhi said that if Behura did anything wrong, so did the then solicitor general.

Whatever he did had the official stamp on it and was with proper consultation, he said.

Behura concluded his arguments on the framing of charges declaring that the CBI charge sheet was a “bundle of contradictions”.

The court will Friday hear the arguments of R.K. Chandolia, ex-personal secretary of former communications minister A. Raja.

Behura Wednesday said that the government was responsible for the 2G “mess”.

That statement came a day after Raja dragged Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the then finance minister and present Home Minister P. Chidambaram.

Behura was arrested Feb 2 for alleged involvement in the 2G scam. In the charge sheet filed April 2, he was accused of criminal conspiracy, cheating, forgery and criminal misconduct by a public servant.

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