Government responsible for 2G mess, didn’t listen: Behura

July 27th, 2011 - 9:08 pm ICT by IANS  

P. Chidambaram New Delhi, July 27 (IANS) The government is responsible for the 2G “mess”, jailed former telecom secretary Siddhartha Behura said Wednesday, accusing the powers that be of not listening when he raised an objection.

Then finance minister and present Home Minister P. Chidambaram attended a meeting that took the major decisions of not revising the entry fees for the spectrum licences, Behura’s counsel Aman Lekhi told Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) special judge O.P. Saini.

“The entire government is responsible for the mess. My client raised the objection publicly and the government didn’t listen to him. He was bound to follow policies made by the government… He did his work as a public servant to implement policies of the government. He didn’t do anything wrong,” Lekhi said.

“If any minister does not agree with the decision taken by the council of ministers, then the only choice left with the minister is to either resign or accept the majority decision,” he said.

“A civil servant cannot oppose the decision, since at that point of time he will be accused of being a face of a political party,” Lekhi told the court.

“The RBI (Reserve Bank of India) governor and the then finance secretary Subbarao took the decisions of not revising the entry fees for the spectrum licences. The then finance minister (Chidambaram) attended the meeting held Dec 4, 2007 and Subbarao later said that the policy stands approved,” Lekhi said.

Behura’s statement on the government came a day after jailed former communications minister A. Raja dragged Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Chidambaram into the imbroglio for the second time.

The counsel also raised questions on the role of Manju Madhwan, then member secretary (finance) telecom commission, and Dinesh Mathur, who was telecom secretary before Behura.

“Manju Madhwan was a part of the conspiracy as she did not raise objections and chose to keep quiet in the Dec 4, 2007 meeting that finalised the entry fees. Mathur defended the policy and did not oppose it… If a person who opposed it is made a witness and set free, why is Behura made an accused?” asked Lekhi.

Alleging that the CBI selected the witnesses and the accused “arbitrarily”, defence counsel said: “What is the basis of this arbitrary selection of accused and witnesses? …it is something which only the CBI can explain… those who were liable for the decisions and played a vital role are out as witnesses.

“The CBI has to justify the accusations, which it has failed to do, as the case is bereft of any sensible content,” he said.

Terming Behura’s custody as an “unfair and grave treatment”, he said: “Can there be a more grave and unfair treatment than this where a person not responsible for anything is in the dock and not given bail while the main conspirator is set free.”

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

Raja Tuesday asked why Manmohan Singh had not constituted a group of ministers (GoM) for 2G spectrum allocation and said Chidambaram should be called as a witness in the case.

A day earlier his lawyer said the spectrum transactions were approved by Chidambaram, who was then finance minister, in the presence of the prime minister.

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