By Amiya Kumar Kushwaha
New Delhi, (IANS) Jailed former communications minister Andimuthu Raja is not very keen on getting out on bail because he would prefer to walk out of prison with “clean hands” in the 2G spectrum allotment controversy that has dominated national attention for over a year.
In an exclusive interview to IANS, Raja maintained his “innocence” and said he was concentrating on cross-examining the prosecution witnesses, but didn’t elaborate on the case which is pending before a special court of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
“I want to come out of jail with clean hands, rather than be released on bail,” Raja told IANS in a Patiala House court during the hearing of the case Friday.
Raja has completed more than 14 months in Delhi’s Tihar Jail in the case that cost the DMK leader his ministerial job in November 2010.
The trial has been dragging on for more than a year now with some 410 applications, including bail pleas from other accused, filed. But not a single application has been moved by the DMK MP seeking bail or to attend parliament sessions.
Raja was arrested Feb 2, 2011 by the CBI for his alleged involvement in the 2G spectrum allocation scam, which is purported to have caused a huge loss to the national exchequer.
He was sent to Tihar on Feb 17 last year.
Raja told IANS he was looking forward to conclude the trial “as early as possible”.
“It will be better to seek acquittal…trying to complete trial as early as possible. However, I could move my bail application (if the trial drags on), wait for that time,” he said.
Raja’s nephew T. Srinivisan, who is not counselling him but assisting him in preparing his case, said the former communications minister is waiting for the bail application of former telecom secretary Sidharth Behura, who is also in Tihar Jail.
Except for Raja and Behura, all the arrested accused have been released on bail. Behura’s bail is pending in the Supreme Court.
Raja’s counsel Babanjeet Singh said: “If Behura’s bail is accepted in the top court, then we will approach the court for Raja’s bail also.”
Another of his counsels said Raja’s legal team was waiting to conclude the cross examination of D.S. Mathur, another former telecom secretary who had deposed against the DMK leader.
“Then we will think about other matters – whether to move bail or to go parliament,” the counsel said, requesting not to be named.
The special CBI court had remarked that Raja could attend parliament if he wanted to. But the MP replied that his first priority was to present his case before a judicial bench instead.
Another co-accused and DMK MP, Kanimozhi had been granted permission to attend parliament.
According to the government auditor, the 2G scam allegedly masterminded by Raja pertained to biased distribution of mobile airwaves and operating licences, in lieu of kickbacks, to telecom firms that could have cost the treasury up to Rs.1.76 lakh crore in lost revenue.
Nineteen individuals and six companies are accused in the case.