Former Telecom Minister and DMK
dalit leader, A. Raja, who was arrested following the 2G scam, was
granted bail. Accused of crafting and implementing country’s
biggest scam, Raja spent 15 months in jail.
He was the last among the 13 accused who was granted bail. This
includes Kanimozhi, daughter of DMK Chief M. Karunanidhi. She was
earlier granted bail after spending several months in jail.
Kanimozhi has been accused of helping Raja receive a kickback from
one of the telecom companies that he allegedly favored.
While granting bail to 49 year old Raja, the judge ruled that
further detention of the accused would not serve any purpose and
rejected the CBI's argument that he could try to influence
witnesses to tamper with evidence.
He was granted bail on a personal bond of Rs 20 lakh and two
sureties of like amount.
In his 14-page order, the judge imposed several conditions on Raja
including a ban on his visit to his native place in Perambalur
district of Tamil Nadu or the Department of Telecom which he
presided over as minister for over three years.
Raja represents the Nilgiris constituency in the Lok Sabha. He had
resigned as minister in November 2010 in the wake of the eruption
of 2G scam into whose probe the Supreme Court had given stern
The alleged telecom scam is believed to be worth Rs 30,000 crore.
The charges against Raja are grave. He is alleged to have given
away licenses at dirt cheap rates to companies on first come first
serve basis and that too to those that were ineligible.
He is accused of breach of trust by a public servant, a serious
charge that could get him life sentence. Raja says he is innocent.
He has implemented the policies initiated by the Prime Minister
and then Finance Minister. He holds both responsible as they were
aware of the policies he was implementing in 2008.
The Supreme Court has cancelled 122 mobile network licenses issued
by Raja in 2008. The apex court ruled that the
first-come-first-serve policy followed by Raja was distorted to
help companies he favoured, that include Reliance Telecom and
Raja is a popular leader from the DMK party. The party president M
Karunanidhi supported Raja through his imprisonment. He was happy
at his release and said that Raja remains the Propaganda Secretary
of the party.
The telecom scam has definitely dogged the UPA coalition. The long
imprisonment of Kanimozhi and Raja has strained the relationship
between the DMK and the Congress as coalition partners. Whether
the DMK will remain in the UPA fold, is something that remains to
be seen in the 2014 general election.
Syed Ali Mujtaba is a journalist based in Chennai. He can be
contacted at email@example.com