Decision on cut-off date taken after due deliberations: A Raja

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Former Telecom Minister A Raja today told a Delhi court that the decision about the cut-off date of September 25, 2007 for processing of applications seeking 2G spectrum licence was taken after "due deliberations" in the Department of Telecommunications (DoT).

Deposing as a witness to defend himself in ongoing 2G case trial, Raja denied the suggestion of CBI prosecutor that he had decided the cut-off date of September 25, 2007 without any basis.

"It is wrong to suggest that I decided the cut-off date of September 25, 2007 for processing of applications received upto this date only without any basis as the records as to how the cut-off date was decided is available in the files and the decision was taken after due deliberations," Raja told Special CBI Judge O P Saini during his cross-examination by the CBI prosecutor.

"It is wrong to suggest that no deliberations took place in the DoT when the aforesaid cut-off date of September 25, 2007 was approved by me," he said.

CBI had, in its charge sheet, alleged that in order to favour Unitech and Swan Telecom, Raja unilaterally advanced the cut-off date from October 1, 2007 to September 25, 2007 for processing applications for grant of 2G licences and ignored various authorities including the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India, the Law Ministry and the Prime Minister's Office.

During the cross-examination, the CBI prosecutor asked Raja that "in fixing a cut-off date, you (Raja) exceeded your powers as Minister for MOC&IT?"

Responding to this, Raja said "it is incorrect."

Asked about the reasons for fixing a cut-off date, Raja, whose cross-examination would continue tomorrow, said "the reasons are receipt of large number of applications and difficulty in handling this large number of applications."

CBI, in its charge sheet filed on April 2, 2011, had alleged "the investigation has revealed that even though this cut-off date of October 1 had been announced, accused Raja, in conspiracy with other accused, had already taken a view to keep the cut-off date as September 25."

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