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Raja, aides arrested in 2G spectrum scam

New Delhi: Former Telecom Minister A. Raja was on Wednesday arrested along with his two former associates in connection with the 2G spectrum scam.

Mr. Raja arrived at the Central Bureau of Investigation headquarters on Wednesday morning, a day after his brother A.K. Perumal was questioned by the agency about alleged funding of some front organisations owned by telecom companies which had been allocated spectrum from October 2007 to January 2008, official sources said.

Mr. Raja, his former personal secretary R.K. Chandolia and former Telecom Secretary Siddartha Behura were arrested for allegedly abusing their official position and manipulating the tendering procedures to benefit certain telecom companies in getting the spectrum.

The arrest of 47-year-old Mr. Raja, who has been questioned four times by the agency, comes over two months after he was forced to resign in the wake of the spectrum controversy.

Mr. Raja, who was questioned earlier on December 24 and 25 last year and January 31, was called to the CBI office on Wednesday morning and quizzed before being arrested, the sources said.

The Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam MP had been confronted with some questions and documents recovered from the computers seized during searches conducted by the investigation agency earlier at his premises, the sources said.

He was also asked about his conversations with corporate lobbyist Niira Radia and the reasons for advancing the cut-off date of applying for license for spectrum allocation in 2007 by a week.

Mr. Raja was forced to resign on November 14 last year in the wake of the CAG report which held that the spectrum allocation at undervalued prices resulted in a notional loss of Rs 1.76 lakh crore to the state exchequer.

The Supreme Court has asked the CBI and the Enforcement Directorate to submit status reports on their investigations into the 2G spectrum case to it by February 10 when the case will come up for further hearing.

In its FIR, the CBI mentioned the loss in spectrum allocation as Rs. 22,000 crore based on Central Vigilance Commission findings which had referred the case to it.

The CBI has also questioned former Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) chief Pradip Baijal, a 1966 batch IAS officer of Madhya Pradesh cadre, and former Telecom Secretary D.S. Mathur in connection with the case.

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