Former TRAI chairman Nripendra Misra, who is now the principal secretary to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, was today applauded by the special 2G court for his commitment in seeking implementation of recommendations of the telecom regulator. However, the court was critical of the then senior officers of the Department of Telecom (DoT) for passing the buck on others and discarded their testimonies in the case. Discussing roles and deposition as witnesses of several high-profile bureacrats, it said Misra’s efforts deserve “appreciation”. Special Judge O P Saini said several letters were written by Misra to then telecom secretary DS Mathur but the latter did not send any reply to them. “This shows the attitude of Mathur towards other government functionaries as well as his official duties. The irresponsible and callous attitude of Mathur is reflected by his conduct in not replying to the letters of Misra, who was also at one time, Secretary (Telecom),” the court said.
It said, “On the other hand, the record reflects the earnestness and commitment of Misra with which he was seeking the implementation of the recommendations. Had Mathur heeded to the advice of Misra, things would not have gone so bad leading to the registration of instant criminal case. “The efforts of Misra for ensuring proper implementation of TRAI recommendations deserve appreciation.” Regarding A K Srivastava, then deputy director general (Access Services) who was a key prosecution witness, the court said his oral testimony was contrary to the official record which was rejected and he was “inconsistent” and “blowing hot and cold at the same time”.
“His evidence indicates how a very senior officer endeavoured hard to disown and discredit the official record created by him alone and to malign the minister (A Raja),” it said. The court said that the record showed that Mathur was “largely responsible for the mess” in the DoT and it seemed that was awaiting his impending retirement on December 31, 2007 and that he could have awaited his retirement in a more graceful manner.
“If Raja was working against the policies of the Government, he (Mathur) could have informed the Cabinet Secretariat or the PMO. Nothing of this sort was done by Mathur. A Secretary is a Secretary to the Government of India and not to his Ministry alone,” it remarked. Regarding the then member (Telecom), K Sridhara, the court said his statement was of no use to the prosecution. It also concluded that Nitin Jain, then director (AS-I), deposed contrary to official record and he testified in a hesitant and roundabout manner and his deposition was not trustworthy. Misra, Mathur, Srivastava, Sridhara and Jain were among the many key prosecution witnesses in the case.