Raja did what Sonia and Karunanidhi ordered: Subramanian Swamy (Interview)

By George Joseph, IANS
Wednesday, February 9, 2011

NEW DELHI - Describing Congress president Sonia Gandhi and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi as the “big fish” in the 2G spectrum scam, Janata Party chief Subramanian Swamy says former communications minister A. Raja is just a “small actor” who took orders from the two leaders.

“Raja is just a small actor. Sonia Gandhi and Karunanidhi (also DMK chief) are the big fish in the 2G spectrum scam. Raja did what Karunanidhi and Sonia ordered him (to do),” Swamy told IANS in an interview over telephone.

Raja, a DMK MP who resigned as minister Nov 14 after the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) reported that the faulty auction process in the allocation of second-generation telephony had led to a notional loss of Rs.1.76 lakh crore, is in the custody of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) for his alleged role in the scam.

Swamy said Raja’s arrest was just the tip of the iceberg. “The trail will lead to higher-ups.”

The former union minister, 71, said he would expose all those involved in the scam. “That is why I have filed a case against Karunanidhi,” he added.

It was Swamy’s public interest litigation in the Supreme Court, filed in his personal capacity, that brought the 2G spectrum allocation auction to the political centrestage.

He said Prime Minister Manmohan Singh “as the head of the government, had responsibility for the scam during his regime”.

“He (Manmohan Singh) is behaving like the Bhishmapita in the Hindu mythology. As Bhishma looked the other way when Draupadi was stripped.”

The nation has been robbed of billions of rupees under the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) governments, Swamy alleged.

However, he felt that Manmohan Singh’s resignation would not solve the problem.

“… the UPA government should step down and pave way for fresh elections. Otherwise, a more pliable, corrupt person may come in the place,” he said.

“I have no doubts on the prime minister’s personal integrity. But he is indulging in moral corruption by his inaction under political compulsions.”

Swamy also criticised new Communications Minister Kapil Sibal for his statement questioning the findings of the CAG.

“He (Sibal) is a creation of Sonia Gandhi…Otherwise, he has no political base.”

Sibal, he added, had been “put in the chair to see the 2G spectrum licenses are not cancelled”.

“But the case is coming up in the Supreme Court on March 1. We will see the issues are taken to the logical conclusion,” Swamy told IANS.

Swamy, a former professor at Harvard University and the Indian Institute of Technology-Delhi, is of the view that “auction is the best way for allocation of spectrum radiowaves for telecom companies”.

“Spectrum is a scarce resource and in short supply. Any scarce material should be auctioned.”

“It (2G spectrum allocation) was just the loot of the nation’s resources. If that was avoided, the country would not have faced such a budget deficit,” said Swamy, adding that there could have “been more funds for the developmental projects”.

The latest spectrum scam on S-band, the high value band width of 70 MHz (megahertz, units of frequency) considered to be of enormous commercial value for high-speed, terrestrial mobile communications, was another instance “of loot of national resources”.

However, Swamy tried to deflect criticism from Manmohan Singh on the controversy, over allocation of space spectrum using S-band in a deal between the Indian Space Research Organisation’s commercial arm and a private company.

“It appears the PM came to know about the S-Band contract much later. It seems Suresh Pachouri, minister of state in the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), was handling the S-Band issue,” he added.

He targeted Sibal again, saying the “Space Commission, of which Sibal was an important member, had approved the contracts”.

The politician also attacked Sonia Gandhi on the controversial appointment of Central Vigilance Commission chief P.J. Thomas, an accused in the 2000 case of import of palm oil at prices higher than the international rate when he was food secretary in the Kerala government.

Thomas, Swamy said, owes his current position to “Sonia Gandhi and a financial company from Kerala”.

Swamy, a long-time Sonia Gandhi basher, said: “Sonia has not been even loyal to her husband Rajiv’s memory. Otherwise, how can she join hands with the DMK of the Rajas and Karunanidhis. Rajiv used to hate Karunanidhi”, he said.

(George Joseph can be contacted at george.j@ians.in)

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