New Delhi: Former Telecom Minister A Raja on Tuesday dragged Prime Minister Manmohan Singh again in the 2G case, alleging he too could be held guilty of "conspiracy" and dereliction of duty for not forming a GoM to examine the spectrum allocation issue.

Raja's submission before a court came just hours after the DMK MP said he did not seek to implicate Manmohan Singh and former Finance Minister P Chidambaram in the 2G case on
the basis of his arguments on Monday.

"Just because he (Prime Minister) ignored it, no GoM (Group of Ministers) was constituted. By that standard, Prime Minister was also in conspiracy so far as dereliction of duty is concerned. It was his (PM's) judgment that GoM was not required." Raja said while concluding his arguments opposing the corruption and other penal charges against him.

47-year-old Raja, who is behind bars for nearly six months, said he deserves to be discharged from the case as the allegations against him are not established at all.

He sought his "forthwith release" terming his judicial custody as an "illegal detention".

Questioning as to why the Prime Minister did not form a GoM to examine the spectrum allocation issue, Raja told Special CBI Judge O P Saini that the Prime Minister was superior to his client and he had the power to constitute the GoM, but he never felt the need to do it. Raja's arguments were put forth by his counsel Sushil Kumar.

Earlier in the day, Raja pleaded to the court to make Chidambaram a witness in the case. He also said he had not sought to implicate the Prime Minister or the Home Minister in the matter and put the blame on the media.

Raja also vehemently denied forging any press release issued by the Department of Telecom in the 2G case, asserting that it was duly approved by the then Solicitor General Goolam E Vahanvati.

Refuting allegations of any forgery in the press release, Raja made the arguments relating to SG personally, saying even Vahanvati, before becoming a prosecution witness, had been defending it (the press release).

Raja argued that Vahanvati, now the Attorney General, has even been appeared at various judicial fora in matters relating to 2G spectrum allocation.

He also questioned the sanction to prosecute him, saying the same was flawed.

Slamming the CAG report, Raja also questioned the "presumptive loss" of Rs 1.76 lakh crore assessed by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) and termed it as "worthless", saying "its computation is not even relied upon by the CBI."

Seeking a direction to CBI to make Chidambaram a witness in the case, Raja said the former Finance Minister was privy to the matter relating to dilution of equities by Swan Telecom and Unitech Wireless to foreign firms, Etisalat and Telenor, respectively.

"The matters relating to dilution of equities to foreign firms by Swan Telecom and Unitech Wireless were known to the Prime Minister and then Finance Minister Chidambaram," Raja said.
Raja clarified that his statement yesterday about Manmohan Singh and Chidambaram being aware of the dilution of shares by telcom firms did not amount to making any allegation against them.

"I am defending myself and not accusing anything against anybody. I am not after anybody," he said.

"I did not seek to implicate the Prime Minister and the then Finance Minister in the 2G case," Raja said while attempting to shift the blame on media.

"They (media) cannot put words in my mouth. Ask them to report truthfully or go out of the court room," he said.

In the USA, the court proceedings are telecast live and the whole nation watches them to avoid such a situation, Raja said while accusing the media of misreporting.

Raja had on Monday told the court that "the then Finance Minister, who is now the Home Minister, had said in front of the Prime Minister that dilution of shares does not amount to the sale of 2G licence as per the corporate law."

"Let the Prime Minister deny this," he added.

While defending himself against corruption charges in 2G scam, Raja had also submitted to the court that there was nothing wrong in his decision of not auctioning the 2G spectrum and he was merely following the policies pursued by his predecessors and the NDA government.

Khurshid makes light of Raja's arguments

Virtually dismissing A Raja's arguments in the 2G case, Law Minister Salman Khurshid said it was for the court to decide whether there is "any substance" in what the former telecom minister's counsel has submitted before it.

"You do know, when lawyers appear for someone, they look for anything possible to help their own clients. It is not always that thought is given to what will happen to some other person who is named in this manner," he said here.

At the same time, the minister said that it was for the court to consider "whether there is any substance" in what Raja's counsel has said.

"We have the rule of sub-judice, because if everything that happens in court is commented upon outside, there would a parallel trial going on," he said.

Khurshid said since Union Home Minister P Chidambaram and Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal have clarified their position on the issue, the matter should be allowed to rest there.

Raja pleaded before the special court that Chidambaram be made a witness in the 2G spectrum case saying he was privy to the matter relating to dilution of equities by Swan Telecom and Unitech Wireless to foreign firms, Etisalat and Telenor, respectively.

"The matters relating to dilution of equities to foreign firms by Swan Telecom and Unitech Wireless were known to the Prime Minister and then Finance Minister Chidambaram," Raja's counsel said.

JD(U) demands PM, Chidambaram's resignation

The JD(U) on Tuesday demanded the resignation of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Union Home Minister P Chidambaram alleging that accusing fingers were being raised against them in the 2G spectrum scam.

"The startling revelations by A Raja in the 2G spectrum allotment has exposed the Congress and the PM and Home Minister should resign owning moral responsibility," JD(U) spokesperson Sanjay Singh told reporters here.
 
Singh claimed that the Congress was rocked by the MPS bribery case, 2G spectrum scam, CWG scam, and the Adarsh Housing Society Scam.

Stating that the Congressmen's decision to hold a demonstration against corruption at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi was a 'mockery', he said, "Congressmen are neck-deep in corruption ... if they want to protest, they should hold a demonstration at Eiffel tower against corruption as the people of the country are aware of their image."

He alleged that the Congress had become the 'Gangotri of corruption' which the people of Bihar had rejected.

(JPN/Agencies)