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Opposition target Raja in 2G scam
New Delhi, NOV 10 (AGENCIES):
Published on 11 Nov. 2010 12:42 AM IST
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The Congress may be in overdrive cleaning its own house, but its ally the DMK, and in particular IT Minister A Raja, continue to cause the UPA government huge embarrassment.
A day after CNN-IBN reported that the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) had found that the 2G spectrum auction caused the government losses of around Rs. 1,76,379 Crores, more details are emerging about what the damning report says.
Slamming A Raja, the CAG report says, “The Honourable Minister of Communication & IT, for no apparent logical or valid reasons, ignored the advice of Ministry of Law and Ministry of Finance, avoided the deliberations of the Telecom Commission to allocate 2G spectrum, a scarce finite national asset at less than its true value on flexible criteria and procedures adopted to benefit a few operators.”
This puts the Congress, which has been in intense clean-up mode this week, getting rid of tainted office-holders post in haste, in a spot. While officially the party and the government have said let the CAG report go through a certain constitutional procedure before it can comment, Congress spokesperson Jayanti Natrajan also pointed out that the party has to respect “coalition dharma.”
The UPA is acutely aware, however, that it has to deal with an aggressive Opposition that is using every possible stick to beat it with. The Raja issue rocked Parliament Wednesday with both Houses of Parliament being adjourned twice. The Opposition has demanded a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) inquiry.
The DMK’s big rival Jayalalithaa of the AIADMK, has hit out at the party for what she calls shielding Raja in the 2G scam. She has written to President Pratibha Patil asking that Raja be sacked. Jayalalitha said, “Raja’s scam, perpetrated with just a few signatures over a few hours, outclasses the British loot by 200 times! If this money was available with the Central Government, we need not have gone for the controversial increases in petroleum prices that have broken the back of India’s middle class. Houses worth Rs. 1 lakh each could have been built and distributed free to as many as 2 crore poor, homeless Indians. The Ganga could have been cleaned...”
Decision on Raja after PM return: Sources
PTI: Amid growing attack on telecom minister A Raja over alleged scam in spectrum allocation, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is expected to take a decision on his continuance in the Union Cabinet after his return from Seoul on Friday, highly placed sources said on Wednesday.
The sources indicated that the government is under intense pressure to remove Raja as he has been directly held responsible for the alleged scam by Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG).
“Holding a Cabinet minister directly responsible for any scam is rare. In such a circumstance, it is difficult for any government to retain the minister,” a source said.
A decision on his continuance in the Cabinet is expected be taken after the return of the Prime Minister from G20 Summit in Seoul on Friday, the sources said.
Winter session: Oppn heat over
scams causes parliament to adjourn
New Delhi, Nov 10 (IANS/PTI): ACCUSE AND OFFEND: The Congress and the BJP have made this their strategy as one alleged scam after another hits the government and disrupts Parliament. Senior BJP leader Murli Manohar Joshi on Wednesday said the prime minister’s office (PMO) may also be involved in corruption surrounding the
Commonwealth Games, Adarsh housing society scam and the 2G spectrum allocation scam.
Joshi told reporters in Delhi said certain “information” indicated that officials from the PMO may also be involved in these corruption cases.
“There is information that some elements from the PMO may also be involved in these corruption cases,” he said. “No ministry should be spared from investigation. That’s why a joint parliamentary committee is needed,” he said. Joshi said that the government agencies meant for probing such cases were being misused as political tools.
“We are demanding a joint parliamentary committee so that we are assured that the inquiry is impartial,” he said. Joshi said that the party was forced to disrupt parliament proceedings as the ruling party did not allow a discussion on corruption.
The Congress replied to these allegations by claiming that a person “very very close” to BJP president Nitin Gadkari had a flat in Mumbai’s Adarsh housing society apartment complex, where houses meant for Kargil war widows and martyrs’ families were given to politicians, bureaucrats and former defence chiefs.
“While raising the Adarsh issue, they (the BJP) are not taking the name Suresh Prabhu, who was a minister in the NDA regime or Sancheti who is supposed to be very, very close to BJP president Nitin Gadkari.
“According to reports, Sancheti, whose monthly salary is just Rs 8600, has purchased a flat worth Rs 60 lakh. There is speculation in media that Sancheti is a proxy for Nitin Gadkari,” alleged Congress spokesperson Shakeel Ahmed. BJP spokesman Prakash Javdekar called the allegations baseless and threatened to sue Ahmed if he couldn’t prove them within 72 hours.
Ahmed, however, sought to claim high moral ground for his party on the corruption issues and accused BJP of practicing “double standards” in the matter.
Both the Houses were adjourned twice on the same issues--once during Question Hour and second time during Zero Hour--with the Chairs being left with no option but to adjourn the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha for the day.
Noisy scenes prevailed in both the Houses as the BJP, AIADMK and Left parties in a combined fashion raised these issues.

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