Raja draws PM, Chidambaram, Tata, AG in line of fire

Former telecom minister A Raja Going on the offensive, 2G scam-accused former telecom minister A Raja gunned for prime minister Manmohan Singh, home minister P Chidambaram, Tata Group chief Ratan Tata and attorney general GE Vahanvati. Raja was answering the charges leveled against him in the telecom scam, which he is accused of masterminding during his tenure as telecom minister.

Raja started out on an apologetic note by stating that he did not seek to implicate the prime minister and then the finance minister in the 2G case. He blamed the media, for what he said, "putting words in my mouth." Yet, he said, he was not after anybody.

However, in the course of his defence, he brought in the PM, and said that Chidambaram should be made a witness in the trial.

Raja took a clear stand: if he was guilty of violation of the country's telecom licensing norms, so were others. Raja was telecom minister till November when he resigned over charges of corruption and the 2G scam. He was arrested in February and has since been in Tihar Jail.

He said if the prime minister had wanted, he could have set up a Group of Ministers (GoM) to supervise the manner in which the sale of licences was undertaken by Raja in 2008 for mobile networks and the airwaves they use. Raja stands accused of selling licences at ridiculously low rates, to companies that were not eligible for them but benefited from Raja's patronage.

"The prime minister is superior to me and he could have constituted the GoM," Raja said.