Raja conspired with bureaucrats, industrialists in 2G scam: CBI

New Delhi: A Raja conspired with top bureaucrats, including a retired IAS officer, and corporate honchos to cause a loss of Rs 30,984 crore in the allocation of 2G spectrum, the CBI said in its indictment of the former Telecom Minister who has been chargesheeted along with eight others and three telecom companies.

The agency, which filed its first chargesheet before a special court, alleged that former Telecom Secretary Siddharth Behura, Raja`s personal secretary R K Chandolia and Swan Telecom promoter Shahid Usman Balwa and Sanjay Chandra, MD of Unitech wireless, entered into a conspiracy for manipulating the procedure for allocation of spectrum with the aim of favouring companies like Swan Telecom and Unitech Group.

The chargesheet, running into about 80,000 pages and brought in seven steel trunks, was filed before CBI judge O P Saini in the special court constituted exclusively to try the case that is being monitored by the Supreme Court.

Attorney General G E Vahanvati and corporate lobbyist Niira Radia have been named among 125 witnesses in the case.

This will be the first time the topmost law officer of the government will be appearing as a witness in a corruption case.

CBI will file the supplementary chargesheet by April 25 and is likely to complete its probe by May 31 in the case that has dented the UPA government`s image in less than two years of its return to power.

Others named in the chargesheet include Vinod Goenka, a Director of Mumbai-based DB Realty, which was also the promoter of Etisalat DB, Sanjay Chandra, Managing Director of Gurgaon-based real estate company Unitech and Unitech Wireless(Tamil Nadu) Pvt Ltd and Gautam Doshi, Hari Nair and Surendra Pipara, Group Managing Director and two Senior Vice Presidents of Mumbai-based Reliance Telecom Company.

The 47-year-old DMK leader, who is at present in jail, has been charged with cheating, forgery and abuse of official position under the provisions of Indian Penal Code and Prevention of Corruption Act.

Raja has been charged with "manipulating" procedures like advancing the cut-off date in conspiracy with officials and industrialists by privately conveying to them the resheduled date and grant of licences to ineligible applicants.

In the chargsheet, CBI said Swan Telecom, which was acting as a front company for Reliance ADAG, and Unitech Wireless (Tamil Nadu) were ineligible for getting the licences.

CBI said the gamut of offences were five-fold including the advancing of cut-off date for receiving applications for new Unified Access Services Licenses to help accused companies Swan Telecom and Unitech.

The agency also dealt with the criminality involved in the decision-taking mechanism by Raja and officials of the Department of Telecom with regard to first-come-first-serve (FCFS) policy, allowing dual technology to telecom companies and granting licences to ineligible companies and loss caused to the national exchequer.

The CBI prosecutor, who placed the chargesheet before the court, said Unitech Group of companies, which were ineligible for the spectrum, were the greatest beneficiary of the scam as its Managing Director Sanjay Chandra was actively involved in the conspiracy with Raja, Behura, Chandolia and Balwa.

"Investigation has disclosed that the Unitech group of companies, having object clauses of realty, did not even have their object clauses under Memorandum and Articles of Association amended before applying to enter in the business of telecom. Unitech companies fraudulently concealed critical information in this regard to avoid rejection for being ineligible," the chargesheet stated.

Further, CBI alleged investigations revealed that Swan Telecom had no business history and it was activated only on behalf of Reliance ADAG to get the spectrum.

"Investigation has revealed that in January-February 2007, accused Gautam Doshi, Surender Pipara and Hari Nair in furtherance of their common intention to cheat the DoT, structured/created net worth of company Swan Telecom Pvt ltd out of funds arranged from Reliance telecom ltd", the chargesheet said.

CBI said Raja, in order to favour Unitech and Swan, unilaterally advanced the cut-off date for accepting the applications for grant of licences and ignored various authorities including the Telecom Regulatory Authority (TRAI), the Law Ministry and the Prime Minister`s office.

"He also mislead the Prime Minister and incorrectly stated the opinion of the Ministry of Law and Justice to refer the matter to EGoM to be out of context," CBI said.

It said Raja was already in a conspiracy with Sanjay Chandra of Unitech and Shahid Balwa and Vinod Goenka of Swan Telecom before the publication of cut-off dates in newspapers.

"The sugesstion from the high office of the Prime Minister that availability of spectrum had to be accessed before committing to issue licenses and that a license without requisite spectrum meant nothing to a telecom operator were, however, brushed aside by Raja," the chargesheet said.

After being caught on the wrong foot, Raja immedietly called Chandolia at his residence at night and drafted a response to the letter of the Prime Minister, CBI said.

"Raja, in pursuance of the conspiracy and for ensuring better prospects for his favoured companies, cut it short and decided the cut-off dates to be October 1, 2007. A press release was issued to this effect on September 24, 2007, which appeared in the newspapers on September 25.

"The investigation has revealed that even though this cut-off date of October 1 had been announced, accused Raja, in conspiracy with other accused, had already taken a view to keep the cut-off date as September 25," the chargesheet said.