Former Telecom Minister A Raja, an accused in the 2G case, on Monday admitted to having met former corporate lobbyist Niira Radia along with then Tata group chairman Ratan Tata at his residence in connection with work of Tata group, but categorically denied having any telephonic conversation with her.
“I met her once or twice along with Ratan Tata and thereafter, met her a few times, both in the Ministry of Environment and Forests as well as in the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MOC&IT),” Raja told Special CBI Judge O P Saini while deposing as a witness to defend himself in the ongoing trial in 2G case.
“In both the ministries, she came to meet me. She used to visit me in connection with work of Tata group. She met me once at my house along with Ratan Tata. I am not able to recollect if I had any telephonic conversation with her from my side. I am unable to recollect exactly if she ever called me. I am sure that I myself never called her,” said Raja while being cross-examined by special public prosecutor U U Lalit, who asked Raja whether he had ever met Radia.
In July last year, while deposing as a prosecution witness, Radia had told the court that she had telephonic conversation about Cabinet formation with Raja and had attended meetings on behalf of Tatas with him at his residential office during November 2008.
On being asked whether he was aware of Kalaignar TV, the DMK leader said he was aware of it as a viewer and did not know its shareholding pattern.
“I am aware as a viewer and watching Kalaignar TV since the time it was launched in 2007. I do not know who launched this channel. I am not aware of the management of Kalaignar TV,” Raja, whose cross- examination was deferred for Tuesday after he complained of being unwell, said. Raja said he had met Kanimozhi as a Member of Parliament of DMK party when she visited his residence in Delhi with other MPs. The former minister denied that he had held multiple telephonic conversations with Radia and Kanimozhi on the issue of putting Kalaignar TV on TataSky’s bouquet.
When asked whether he had given approval to seven proposals of Unitech during his stint as Minister for Environment and Forests, Raja said he could not say anything since they were looked after by the expert committee. “I do not recollect having given any administrative approval to Unitech, specifically since so many clearances are given,” he said. Raja is facing trial in the case along with former telecom secretary Siddhartha Behura, DMK MP Kanimozhi, Raja’s former private secretary R K Chandolia, Swan Telecom promoters Shahid Usman Balwa and Vinod Goenka, Unitech MD Sanjay Chandra, Reliance ADAG executives Gautam Doshi, Surendra Pipara and Hari Nair.
Besides them, Bollywood producer Karim Morani, Kalaignar TV managing director Sharad Kumar and directors of Kusegaon Fruits and Vegetables, Asif Balwa and Rajiv Agarwal, are also facing trial in the case.
Three telecom companies — Swan Telecom, Reliance Telecom and Unitech Wireless (Tamil Nadu) — are also accused in the case.