Raja sent to Tihar Jail under judicial custody

New Delhi: After facing sustained custodial interrogation for 14 days at the CBI headquarters over his role in 2G spectrum allocation scam, former Telecom Minister A Raja was on Thursday sent to Tihar Jail under judicial custody by a Delhi court.

"The accused is remanded in judicial custody till March 3," Special CBI judge O P Saini said, remanding Raja into 14-days` judicial custody on CBI plea.

The CBI sought judicial custody for the former minister saying the investigation in the case was not yet complete.

While remanding Raja into judicial custody, the court also directed the Tihar Jail authorities to allow the former minister to have access to home-made food in jail besides his medicines and reading glasses.

The court gave this direction to the jail superintendent on a plea made by Raja`s counsel Ramesh Gupta.

In an application to the court, Gupta sought the court`s direction to the prison authorities to allow his client to have home-cooked food, medicines and use his reading glasses.

"The accused has a history of acid reflux disorder, irritable syndrome, claustrophobia and other related medical disorders since 2002 for which he has been under medication.

"Owing to the said medical condition of the applicant, he has been advised to take only home-cooked food along with the medicines prescribed for the medical condition," the application filed by Raja said.

The court accepted DMK leader`s plea, saying "the jail superintendent is directed to consider the application as per the jail manual."

Raja was arrested on February 2, along with former Telecom Secretary Siddharth Behura and his former personal secretary R K Chandolia, for their alleged role in 2G spectrum allocation scam, which, as per CBI, has caused a pecuniary loss of Rs 22,000 crore to the state exchequer.

The former minister is alleged to have manipulated rules to favour some telecom companies, including Swan Telecom and Unitech Private Limited, in allocation of the spectrum at throwaway prices.

Earlier, CBI had brought fresh charges of forgery and cheating against Raja and Swan Telecom promoter Shahid Usman Balwa arrested in connection with 2G spectrum scam case.

"While investigation is in progress, things are coming to light and so sections 420 (cheating) and 468 (forgery) of IPC have been added," CBI counsel Akhilesh had said.

Earlier, charges under the Prevention of Corruption Act were levelled against Raja and Balwa was accused of conspiracy under the IPC and the Prevention of Corruption Act.

Balwa is now in CBI custody undergoing interrogation at the CBI headquarters. He is to be produced before the court tomorrow following expiry of his four-day custody with the agency.

CBI had yesterday questioned telecom tycoon and ADAG chairman Anil Ambani in connection with the 2G scam.

Swan Telecom, in which Tiger Traders Private Limited have 90.13 and ADAG subsidiary Reliance Telecom Ltd has 9.87 equity share capital, has been under the scanner over alleged diversion of funds to DMK-owned Kalaignar television.

Ambani, 51, is believed to have clarified to CBI "about the ongoing issues" related to the possible role of RTL in Swan.