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Tuesday, 26 July 2011

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SibalNama Episode-3 – “Raja is the only chor and Chiddu and Manji are innocent”

On one side, Sibal Uncle was totally devoted to the save Raja campaign, the great A Raja on other side unaware of the campaign submitted before a CBI court that "whatever I did, I did in the presence of the Prime Minister and Finance Minister... Kis government ne kaha ki humen chuna lagaya?"

"I had many meetings with the PM while allocating spectrum," Raja added. "Media reports about the issuance of new licences were discussed by both the PM and FM."

The sale of equity by accused companies Unitech Wireless and Swan Telecom to Uninor and Etisalat respectively was approved by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and then Finance Minister P Chidambaram, senior counsel Sushil Kumar said. "The then Finance Minister who is now Home Minister had said before the Prime Minister that dilution of shares to attract FDI does not amount to sale of 2G licence as per the corporate law... Let the Prime Minister deny this... Kis government ne kaha humen chuna lagaya? (special sentence, please try google translation)"

Raja challenged everybody in a very confident and clear voice. He said "Make me a special prosecutor, ukhaad kar laonga saare ministers ko (special sentence, please try google translation). Imprison all of them... Pramod Mahajan, Arun Shourie, Maran... all followed the policy of no spectrum. Historical facts do not permit you to auction. I was just following the 2003 Cabinet decision that is not to auction 2G spectrum. It's a policy choice, the government can earn money, it can lose money," reported his Lawyer Sushil Kumar.

Keeping his loyalty towards his esteemed clients Unitech and Etisalat-DB, Raja asked why action had been only taken against Swan Telecom and Unitech Wireless, Raja implicated Tata Teleservices, saying it had also sold its shares.

"Unitech sold 67% equity for (only) Rs6,120Cr whereas Tata Teleservices got (whopping) Rs13,973Cr by selling only 27% equity (lucky Tata and unfortunate Unitech and therefore A Raja). Why was Ratan Tata not accused by the CBI?"

"Why are you picking only two... Let the CBI prosecute the man (Tata) who actually diluted the stake worth Rs14Cr (wow). The only sin of DB Realty and Unitech is that they have got good contacts and brought money from abroad (say thanks to DB and Unitech for bringing huge FDI)," he said.

However, Raja's statement hurt the entire premise of Sibal Uncle's save Raja campaign which was gaining popularity and all the Congressmen supported Manji and Chiddu Uncle in a uniform voice. Pride of corporate and dumped by lawyers, Corporate Affairs Minister Veer appaji said "The accused will always try to make claims to defend himself (?) and save his skin. There is nothing special in that." However, many reporters at that event tried to understand the contradiction as just before a day, Sibal Uncle was trying to save the skin of the same person. He also provided inside information which was unknown to everybody that the claims are a matter of evidence and the court will decide.

Always on a visit (all visits except visits related to his finance portfolio), Mr. Pranab Mukherjee said that former telecom minister A. Raja's statement on Monday suggesting that the Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh, and the then finance minister, P. Chidambaram, were aware of all decisions related to the allocation of 2G spectrum to interested parties, and that he alone could not be prosecuted in the so-called telecom scam, could not be treated as evidence. "The matter is being agitated in the court; it is for the court to decide," he reiterated words of Veer appaji.

Finally, Sibal Uncle came into picture with lots of evidences and proofs to support Manji and Chidduji. However, his voice was full of disappointment looking at the results of his over 7 month efforts for save Raja campaign. Uncle's close associate said that Uncle follows only one principal i.e., duty comes first and emotional attachment later. Uncle, however, avoiding direct aggression against A Raja blamed on NDA government and its policies.

In no time after the news that Raja made statements against PM and HM, Sibal Uncle in a statement refuted claims made by Raja in his submissions made before the special court stating that the sale of equity in telecom companies Swan and Unitech was in the knowledge of both the Prime Minister as well as the then Finance Minister Chidambaram. Sibal said what had happened in case of Swan and Unitech was not sale of equity but "issuance of additional equity".

"In any case, this issue has nothing to do either with the grant of (2G spectrum) licences or the pricing of spectrum," he said.

Blaming totally on NDA government, Uncle said "To clarify further, it may be stated that infusion of additional equity was the accepted policy framework approved by the NDA government (again NDA government), in spite of the then prevailing lock-in period of five years during which the licensee could not transfer the licence. Even the lock-in period of five years was done away with in 2003 by the NDA government. This means that the licensee could transfer and sell his licence to a third party without restriction, immediately upon the grant of licence."

Uncle said it was the UPA government that re-introduced a lock-in period, that of three years, in 2009. "However, it did not prevent the licensee company or holding company to seek infusion of additional equity by third parties. This was done both in the case of Swan and Unitech. The Finance Ministry was of the opinion that neither of these cases involved any divestment but dilution of equity. Hence the transactions were legal," he said.

Uncle also claimed at the time when the licences were granted, the first-come-first-served policy of the NDA government was in place. "The irregularities if any are with reference to the implementation of the first-come-first-served policy," he said.

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