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Court refuses to record Niira Radia's `evasive' answers news
28 May 2013

A Delhi court today warned former corporate lobbyist Niira Radia, a ''sensitive'' and ''important'' witness in the 2G spectrum allocation case, for ''evading'' answers to some specific questions.

''You are a very sensitive witness. Be brief and be specific in your answers,'' Special CBI Judge O P Saini told her when she was not giving direct answers and was speaking in an inaudible manner.

Niira RadiaNiira Radia, the former corporate lobbyist who was involved in the 2008 2G spectrum scandal, today told the court that she had felt that Swan Telecom Pvt Ltd ''was not eligible'' for 2G Spectrum licences as it was known to be an affiliate of Reliance ADAG group firm Reliance Communications.

Testifying as a prosecution witness in the CBI court in Delhi for the first time, she said during the time of grant of spectrum, there was a very strong public perception that Swan Telecom Pvt Ltd was an affiliate of Reliance ADAG group firm Reliance Communications and was not eligible for spectrum.

''During the time of grant of spectrum, there was a very strong public perception created by the media of eligibility and non-eligibility. Through the public perception and advice of Tata advocates, I came to know that this company (Swan Telecom) was not eligible,'' Radia told Special CBI Judge OP Saini.

''At that time, there were dossiers in circulation that the company belonged to Reliance Communications, though I do not have any authentic or personal knowledge,'' she said.

During her examination-in-chief by the CBI prosecutor, Radia, however, was not so forthcoming on the sensitve matters concerning her client Tata Teleservices.

The CBI court, in fact, cautioned her against ''evading'' questions relating to the 2G spectrum allocation case in which she is considered as a ''sensitive'' and ''important'' witness.

Radia told the court that her firm was advising Tatas on telecom matters and Tata Teleservices Ltd had applied for dual technology licences in 2007.

Radia had a contract with Tatas for public relations work, which she carried out through her Vaishnavi Corporate Communications Pvt Ltd.

She said Tata Teleservices was granted a dual technology licence in 2008 but it did not get the spectrum.

''Tata Teleservices was advised that they were in the queue and would be granted spectrum as and when it would be available. I was coordinating the telecom matters with the Tatas and was not acting in this field singly. Tata Teleservices had applied for dual technology spectrum for Delhi service area also.''

On this, the CBI prosecutor asked Radia, ''Could you please tell the court as to what was the number of Tata Teleservices in the queue for dual technology spectrum in Delhi service area?''

Radia said, ''I was not aware of their number for dual technology spectrum in Delhi service area. However, there was enough correspondence between Tatas and the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) saying that TTSL was ahead in the queue by virtue of their dual technology licence. They were existing CDMA operators.''

The CBI prosecutor asked Radia to explain as to why TTSL was not granted spectrum in Delhi service area despite being ahead of other applicants.

''Tata Teleservices did not get the spectrum first as it was advised by DoT that it was not ahead of others. TTSL was advised by DoT orally. Swan Telecom Pvt Ltd had got spectrum in Delhi service area. Reliance Communications had also got the spectrum,'' she said.

Radia also told the court that TTSL had opposed the allocation of spectrum to Swan Telecom and Reliance Communications but they were advised that they were in the queue and as and when spectrum would be available they would get it.

''You are a very sensitive witness. Be brief and be specific in your answers,'' Special CBI Judge O P Saini told her when she was not giving direct answers and was speaking in an inaudible manner.

The court refused to record her statement and she will be heard again on 2 July.

CBI, in its chargesheet in the 2G spectrum case against former telecom minister A Raja and others, had named Radia as a prosecution witness.

Radia appeared in the court today three months after she was asked on 2 December to testify as a CBI witness.

She had sought three months' time on the grounds that she had undergone a surgery for a neurological ailment.





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Court refuses to record Niira Radia's `evasive' answers