A month after 2G spectrum case ruling by a CBI court in Delhi, former Telecom Minister A Raja has written a tell-all book and questioned former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s “palpable silence” in defending the telecom policy that he himself had approved. In his book ‘2G Saga Unfolds’, Raja has attacked CAG Vinod Rai, saying the office of the Comptroller and Auditor General was “severely compromised” by Rai who had “ulterior motives”. He further claims that he had got Manmohan Singh’s “approval to go ahead” for allocating 2G telecom spectrum to new players after he explained the whole process and that there was enough spectrum available. Raja claimed the former prime minister was repeatedly misinformed by his advisers. “The UPA government’s and even more so Dr Manmohan Singh’s palpable silence in relation to defending my wholly justified actions” was like “silencing of our nation’s collective conscience”, he writes.
About his meeting with Manmohan Singh, Raja writes, “On October 22, 2009 (after CBI raided telecom ministry and offices of some telecom operators) I met the Prime Minister in his office in South Block at around 7.00 pm, T.K.A. Nair (the then principal secretary in the PMO) was also present. People will find it hard to believe that the PM was quite surprised when I told him about the CBI raids.”
In a surprising claim, Raja wrote that Singh did not have any clue about the CBI raids with regard to the spectrum allocation. He further termed the scam as a “shameful blemish on the sanctity of the administrative system of the country.” “It is my conviction consequent to the trial proceedings that there was political motivation to kill UPA 2 and Vinod Rai’s was the shoulder on which the gun was placed,” he wrote.
The book comes after Raja and all other accused were acquitted by a court in the case involving the sale of radiowave licences in 2008 that derailed the-then Manmohan Singh-led government. The CAG had put the presumptive loss in allocation of spectrum at Rs 1.76 lakh crore, as a virtue of which, the Supreme Court later cancelled 122 licences sold to companies.
Raja writes that while there “hasn’t been a shred of actual proof of corruption”, the telecom policy under his regime led to growth in teledensity and a dramatic reduction in call charges. He further claimed that he fought against telecom lobbies to draft a just spectrum auction policy.