Thursday, February 17, 2011

2G scam: Raja says he will prove his innocence

New Delhi: Former Telecom Minister A Raja, who has been arrested by CBI for his alleged role in the in the 2G spectrum allocation scam, on Thursday said he will prove his innocence.

"I will face the case and prove my innocence," he told reporters outside Special Judge O P Saini's courtroon, shortly after he was ordered to be sent to Tihar Jail under judicial custody.

Raja, who was arrested on Feb 2 and had been in CBI custody, was on Thursday sent to 14 days' judical custody.

S-band allocation was a mistake; it is asset of forces: Antony

ak_antonyNew Delhi: As the government scrapped the S-Band spectrum allocation deal, Defence Minister A K Antony on Thursday said a "mistake" had been committed in reaching it as the Defence Ministry had not been consulted about the agreement which involved crucial asset of the security forces.
He expressed confidence that in future the first priority would be given to security forces in allocation of such spectrum.

"They have done some mistake.... S-Band is mainly for the strategic forces and in which our services- army, navy, air froze- they have got major stake," he told reporters.

Noting that S-Band spectrum was "very precious asset for us", the Defence Minister said its "availability is limited" and has to be given to the armed forces, paramilitary and other strategic forces.

"It is unfortunate that earlier we were not consulted at that time by those who took the decision," he said adding that "In the future the first priority would be for the strategic forces and strategic organizations."

Antony said the Ministry of Defence and Services have got a major stake and "I hope their concerns would be properly addressed. I am confident about that."

His remarks came hours after the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) annulled the controversial deal saying it was not in the strategic interest of the country.

Commenting on Antony's remarks, Law Minister M Veerappa Moily said the "issues" raised by his cabinet colleague "can be a subject matter" before the B K Chaturvedi Committee set by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh recently to look into various aspects of the S-Band allocation.

Raja sent to Tihar Jail under judicial custody till March 3

Former telecommunications minister Andimuthu Raja (C) comes out of the airport in New Delhi December 22, 2010. REUTERS/Adnan AbidiNew 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.

Raja goes to Tihar Jail, to get homecooked food

New Delhi, Feb 17. Former communications minister A. Raja, arrested in connection with the 2G spectrum allocation scam, Thursday headed to Tihar Jail after a Delhi court sent him to 14 days judicial custody.

Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Special Judge O.P. Saini, who sent him to judicial custody till March 3 as the investigation agency did not seek any further remand for interrogation, allowed him to have homecooked food, reading glasses and medicines.

Raja's defence counsel Ramesh Gupta had moved an application that the former minister should be allowed to keep his medicines, reading glasses and books with him in Tihar Jail. He also requested that Raja be allowed to get home-cooked food.

Raja was arrested Feb 2 for his alleged involvement in the 2G spectrum allocation scandal, which caused huge losses to the national exchequer, and remanded him to CBI custody initially for five days.

Raja, a member of the DMK, is alleged to have sold spectrum licences at below market rates, causing a loss of Rs.22,000 crore to the national exchequer, according to the probe agency.

He was asked to resign Nov 14 last year after the Comptroller and Auditor General indicted him in the scam for causing the huge losses.

On Feb 8, his remand was extended for two more days after the agency told the court that he was not cooperating during questioning and was being evasive.

The former minister's custody was extended by two more days Feb 10 on the CBI's plea. Thereafter, on Feb 14 (Monday), the court again extended his stay with CBI for three more days.

On Feb 8, former telecom secretary Siddharth Behura and Raja`s former personal secretary R.K. Chandolia, were also sent to 14 days of judicial custody.

Lankan Navy throws petrol bomb on fishermen, 3 hurt

Pudukottai, Tamil Nadu, Feb 17 : Three fishermen were injured when Sri Lankan Naval personnel allegedly threw a petrol bomb on them on high seas off the shore of Kottaipattinam, near here, last night.

According to police sources, 28 fishermen from Kottaipattinam ventured into the sea on six mechanised boats yesterday morning.

They were returning to shore at midnight last night, when they were surrounded by Sri Lanakn Naval Forces who asked them to follow them.

When Raja Mohammed (48), Nallathambi (35) and Yesuraj (54), all in one boat, tried to escape, the Navy threw petrol bomb on them.

While Raja Mohammed sustained serious burns, the other two escaped with minor injuries. The trio somehow managed to return to Kottaipattinam.

The trio were admitted to a private hospital at Manalmelgudi where Nallathambi and Yesuraj were discharged soon after first aid.

Raja was admitted to the hospital with serious burns.

The Sri Lankan Navy took the other 25 fishermen to the Island Nation.

BJP men held for march near Lankan Deputy High Commission Office

Chennai, Feb 17 : Over 60 BJP workers were arrested when they attempted to march to the Sri Lankan Deputy High Commission's Office in the city to condemn the attacks and arrest of Indian fishermen by the Lankan Navy.

The BJP workers, led by party state president Pon Radhakrishnan and General Secretary Thamizhisai Soundararajan assembled near the Deputy High Commission's Office and attempted to take out a march.

However, when they reached near the road where the High Commission's office was located and tried to break the barricades, they were arrested by the police.

The BJP workers shouted slogans, denouncing the attack and arrest of fishermen and also demanded all the DMK MPs from Tamil Nadu resign and voice their concern for the fisheremen.

Accusing both the Centre and the Tamil Nadu Government of failing to take any concrete steps on the issue, Mr Radhakrishnan said because of this, the Lankan Navy was continuing to carry out atrocities against the Indian fishermen.

Hindu Youth Federation activists burn Lankan Flag

Madurai, Feb 17 : Police arrested 25 activists of Hindu Youth Federation (HYF) for burning the National Flag of SriLanka to protest against frequent attacks on Tamil Nadu fishermen by the Island Nation's Navy, near the Kattabomman statue at Periyar bus stand, here today.

Led by HYF district president M N Rajan, the activists burnt the flag and raised slogans against the Sri Lankan government for unleashing brutality against innocent fishermen.

The agitators also urged the Lankan Government to release immediately over 116 fishermen arrested by the authorities there for allegedly straying into the Island's territorial waters on Tuesday.

The arrest of fishermen by the Lankan authorities triggered widespread protests in Tamil Nadu, since yesterday.