New Delhi: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Saturday found itself in a bind over
2G spectrum allocation to private firms during the National
Democratic Alliance (NDA) rule with the Central Bureau of
Investigation (CBI) registering a fresh case into the role of late
Pramod Mahajan between 2001-03 when he headed the telecom
The investigation agency also raided offices of private telecom
firms in Mumbai and Gurgaon apart from residences of former
telecom officials in connection with the case Saturday.
"The agency has registered a case in the allocation of additional
spectrum today during the NDA's rule," said a CBI official.
Among the offices raided were that of Vodafone in Mumbai, and
Airtel in Gurgaon. The residences of Shyamal Ghosh, a former
telecom secretary and chairman of telecom commission and J.R.
Gupta, a deputy director general in the department of telecom, too
came under CBI searches. A total of five places were searched, the
"The agency also raided the Vodafone office in Mumbai, Airtel
office in Gurgaon and residences of Shyamal Ghosh and J.R. Gupta,"
the official added.
The case was registered under section 120-B (criminal conspiracy)
of Indian Penal Code and sections 13(2) and 13(1)(d) of Prevention
of Corruption Act against the two former telecom officials and
three private cellular companies -- Bharti Airtel, Vodafone Essar,
and Vodafone Essar Mobile Services -- and others Thursday, the
The case has been registered for allegations of irregularities in
the grant of additional 2G spectrum and causing a loss of
approximately Rs.508 crore between 2001 and 2007, CBI spokesperson
Dharini Mishra said.
Mahajan's name does not find a mention in the case "as he is no
The registration of the new case invited sharp reactions from the
BJP, which said this was an effort to divert attention from the
role of Home Minister P. Chidambaram in the 2G spectrum allocation
when he was finance minister during the United Progressive
It also charged the Manmohan Singh government with misusing the
CBI against political opponents.
"The new case registered by CBI is nothing but an effort to save
Chidambaram. We have given specific application to inquire into
the role of Chidambaram but even after 60 days, they (government)
have neither replied nor started investigation," said BJP
spokesperson Prakash Javadekar.
He said the prime minister himself accepted that only after
Chidambaram - as finance minister in 2008 - gave his nod, did the
then communications minister A. Raja clear the allocation of
spectrum. "This is a case of complicity and there is an equal
responsibility of Chidambaram along with Raja in the spectrum
"But to save him now CBI is diverting attention, and that is why
they have raked up a policy matter which was implemented in a
transparent manner. This is an example of political abuse of the
CBI by the Congress. That is why we want CBI to be independent.
But Congress can never save Chidambaram," Javadekar said.
Trying to blunt the BJP attack, Congress spokesperson Rashid Alvi
said the principal opposition was targeting the UPA government to
hide its own (NDA) government's misdeeds between 1998 to 2004.
"The BJP has always been giving such kind of statements that
government should get investigated, even whatever happened had
taken place during NDA's regime," he said.
"Nobody should create any obstacle in the way law taking its own
course," he added.
Even as the CBI raids on telecom firm offices continued, the
companies came out with statements, saying they are co-operating
with the government and their documents are in compliance with the
"Bharti Airtel has always maintained the highest standards of
corporate governance and regulatory compliance. We would like to
categorically state that all the spectrum allotted to us from time
to time has been strictly as per the stated government policy,"
said a Bharti Airtel spokesperson.
Vodafone said in a statement: "All our documents are in complete
compliance with the governing laws and regulations. Vodafone India
is completely co-operating with the officials and will provide
them all required details as part of their checks."