Raja ignoring PM advice smacks of conspiracy: Court

New Delhi: Former Telecom Minister A Raja ignoring Prime Minister Manmohan Singh`s advice to consider auctioning 2G spectrum "smacks of conspiracy" with the minister violating all norms including revision of entry fee for the licences, a Delhi court today said.

"…No outside agency/court was asking for revision of entry fee, if it was a policy matter, but the highest in the government/executive itself were questioning that and if that was the case, it was the duty of accused A Raja as Minister of Communication and Information Technology to consider the same in an appropriate manner, more so when the Prime Minister, himself asked him to consider the revision of entry fee.

"And the Law Minister considered the whole issue as important as to merit reference to a group of ministers and the finance secretary stayed the operation of process of licences for the same reason," Special CBI Judge O P Saini said.

"Prima facie the entire process of grant of UAS licences was rushed through and it smacks of conspiracy. Ministry of Communications and Information Technology was a line ministry and it was bound to follow the advice or instructions of finance minister/finance secretary in all matters having financial implication," the court said.

The court noted that Prime Minister had asked for revision of entry fee and so was the view of the finance secretary, who is the custodian of the finances of the country and is administrative head and also principal advisor of the finance ministry. It also rejected the argument of the defence counsel that auction of spectrum or revision of entry fee was not recommended by TRAI and the same was a policy matter which could not have been interfered with by any court.