BJP accuses PM of inaction, demands Raja’s arrest

Saturday, November 20, 2010

NEW DELHI - Accusing Prime Minister Manmohan Singh of a “conspiracy of silence” and “culpability of inaction” in the 2G spectrum controversy, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Saturday demanded interrogation and arrest of former communications and IT minister A.Raja, who resigned this week under pressure from the opposition.

Talking to media persons here, BJP spokesman Ravi Shankar Prasad fired several questions at the prime minister about why the 2G spectrum was allowed to be sold at 2001 prices and why he keep quiet when cut-off date for open licence applications was “arbitrarily” advanced in 2007.

Releasing three letters of correspondence between the prime minister and Raja, Prasad wondered why Manmohan Singh did not call for the entire file relating to 2G spectrum and record his displeasure over blatant violation of norms.

Referring to Raja’s Dec 26, 2007, letter to the prime minister, Prasad said Raja had talked of taking “pre-emptive and pro-active decisions” to avoid further delay and confusion.

“Inferences will be drawn from the language he (Raja) has used,” Prasad said.

He said the prime minister in his letter of November 2, 2007 had talked of transparency in allocation of spectrum but had not taken follow-up measures.

Prasad said the 2G spectrum issue had been debated and discussed in parliament many times and the party wanted action from the government.

“Now we want action, not debate. All the persons in the CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation) inquiry should be interrogated. Raja also should be interrogated and arrested. All beneficiaries and patrons of Raja should be investigated,” Prasad said.

Stepping up the attack on Manmohan Singh, Prasad said the “orchestrated praise about the prime minister’s integrity cannot wash away the stain of inaction and indifference”.

“It is a glaring case where Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is patently involved in the conspiracy of silence, culpability of inaction and guilt of gross indifference when nation’s wealth was being plundered by a minister right under his nose by a massive abuse of system, and yet he looked the other way.”

He said it was surprising that ministers and Congress leaders had suddenly come to the defence of prime minister over the scam which has led to a colossal loss of Rs 1.76 lakh crore to the nation.

“However, this sudden playing of ‘raag darbari’ cannot hide stark facts,” Prasad said.

He sought to know why the prime minister did not order review of the entire allocation of 2G spectrum and ordered an inquiry when the 3G spectrum auction earned lakh crore against the target of Rs. 35,000 crore.

“Why the prime minister kept silent when about 85 ineligible companies, as found by Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG), were granted letters of intent,” Prasad asked.

“As a result Swan telecom which won the licence for about Rs.1,500 crore and Unitech which won the licence for about Rs.1,600 crore and many others sold a part of their equity to foreign partners, who sprang overnight, at a price ranging from Rs.7,000-9,000 crores. When all this was happening why did the prime minister kept quiet when confirmed evidence of deliberate under-pricing of 2G spectrum became evident?”

“The CBI started investigating the matter in October 2009 and in the interim report found that a scam of nearly Rs. 25,000 crore has taken place. Why was the CBI not allowed to interrogate the telecom secretary, and other key officials in spite of a raid in the ministry. Leave aside permitting the interrogation of A. Raja or even changing his department, the prime minister brought the integrity standard to and all time low by forcing the appointment of the then telecom secretary as the CVC (central vigilance commissioner),” Prasad said.

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