New Delhi/Chennai: In
a coordinated crackdown as part of the 2G spectrum scam probe, the
CBI Wednesday raided 34 houses and offices of corporate lobbyist Niira Radia, associates of former communications minister A. Raja
and an NGO linked to DMK MP Kanimozhi here and in Tamil Nadu and
seized "incriminating documents", officials said.
As the government widened its inquiry into what is being described
as India's worst corruption scandal, Central Bureau of
Investigation (CBI) officials also questioned Radia and Pradeep
Baijal, a former head of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India
There was no immediate reaction from Raja, the disgraced DMK
leader, but Kanimozhi told a journalist that she was not aware of
the CBI searches at the Chennai office of NGO Tamil Maiyam, where
she is one of 10 directors.
"I have no knowledge of these raids. I have nothing to say,"
Kanimozhi, daughter of DMK chief and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M.
Karunanidhi, told TimesNow television channel.
Another key person raided in Chennai was Jegath Gaspar Raj, a Sri
Lankan Tamil who has been close to the Tamil Tigers and Raja and
who is managing trustee of the Tamil Maiyam. The NGO was founded
in July 2002.
At the heart of the scandal are Raja, who is accused of causing
huge losses to the exchequer by selling second generation spectrum
at below market rates, and Radia, whose intercepted telephonic
conversations showed her lobbying for Raja when a new government
came in last year.
CBI Deputy Inspector General of Police Vinita Thakur told IANS
that officials landed up at Radia's plush Sainik Farms house in
south Delhi as well as her office in the heart of the city in the
"The raids started early today (Wednesday)," Thakur told IANS.
"They will continue as long as needed. We hope to give out further
details by evening."
In all, 34 premises - seven in Delhi and 27 in Tamil Nadu - were
raided, she said.
CBI officials, acting on information provided by the Enforcement
Directorate, also searched the house of Baijal in Noida, a Delhi
suburb. Baijal became a director in Radia's lobbying firm after
Official sources told IANS that the raids were ordered following
specific information about key documents, many of which were
seized. They said that many of the officials involved in the Tamil
Nadu raids were from outside the state.
Also raided in Chennai were the house of a journalist with a
leading Tamil magazine, a chartered accountant and an office
belonging to Gaspar Raj.
A prominent DMK leader, Raja was forced to exit from Prime
Minister Manmohan Singh's government last month over charges that
he sold spectrum at rates that have caused huge losses to the
The controversy hit the roof following the leak of a large number
of Radia's telephonic intercepts that showed her lobbying for Raja
when the Congress was preparing to form a government in May last
Wednesday's raids came days after parliament's winter session
ended in fiasco in the wake of opposition protests demanding a
joint parliamentary probe into the spectrum scam. The government
has rejected the demand.