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Raja should turn approver: Arun Shourie tells CBI

Former telecom minister Arun Shourie on Friday appeared before the CBI in connection with the 2G case and said that the real issue involved kickbacks and not the policy pursued for spectrum allocation.

Calling for A Raja to turn “approver,” Shourie said the first-come first-serve argument being used by the government was a “red herring” to divert attention from the fact that money was made in the allocation of spectrum.

Shourie appeared before the CBI for questioning in connection with the agency’s probe into aspects of the telecom policy since 2001. It has been alleged that during Shourie’s time new licences were given to Tata Teleservices, Bharti Airtel, Vodafone-Essar and Aircel without auctions, which was against the Cabinet decision of 2003.

Shourie, telecom minister in the NDA government between January 2003 and May 2004, was with agency officials for nearly three and half hours after which he also accused his successor Dayanidhi Maran of changing the guidelines of spectrum allocation. He pointed that both Raja and Maran ignored the Cabinet’s decisions.

“I pointed out to them (the CBI) the things which were to happen in accordance with Cabinet decisions never happened neither during Maran term and certainly not under Raja. And they never went back to the Cabinet for changing the decision. That is the telling point…Real issue is money was exchanged,” he said.
Shourie reached CBI headquarters at 10.30 am. He gave a 60-page document to the agency related to telecom policies and spectrum allocation during the NDA regime. Former telecom secretary (at the time of NDA regime) Vinod Vaish, who came at the request of Shourie, was also present during the examination.
Highlighting several irregularities, Shourie told investigators that Maran had changed the guidelines in 2005 and announced that “there should be no cap in number of operators in a circle.” Read full story from the publisher

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