New Delhi: A key prosecution witness in the 2G spectrum case, former Department of Telecom (DoT) official, AK Srivastava told the special CBI court today that he was instructed by RK Chandolia, former personal secretary to then telecom minister A Raja, to stop receiving new applications for 2G spectrum licenses once applications by the Unitech group had been received.
This is significant to the case of the prosecution which has charged Raja of entering into a conspiracy along with other accused to issue 2G licenses to select companies.
In a damaging testimony to prime accused Raja and his personal secretary RK Chandolia and the Unitech group – all accused in the case, the former senior DoT official told the court: "On 24th September, 2007, when about 167 applications were already received RK Chandolia asked me whether applications of Unitech group had been received. I enquired from the dealing section and replied that they had not yet been received. He then told me that applications of Unitech group will be submitted to DoT today and thereafter, you should stop receipt of further UASL applications. I said that was not possible as new applicants have to be given reasonable time to apply for UAS licences after a public notice."
Srivastava told the court that he was then instructed by Chandolia to come up with a proposal on a cut-off date, which he subsequently set for October 10, 2007. The proposal was then approved by then telecom secretary DS Mathur and then forwarded to the minister, Srivastava informed the court.
"In the afternoon, when the file was in the office of the minister, I received a call again from Chandolia to verify if applications for Unitech group had been received. I enquired from the section and replied in the affirmative."
The file, said Srivastava was returned to him in the evening, wherein Raja had noted that the cut-off date be advanced to 1 October 2007. A press release was thereafter issued announcing a cut-off date for receiving applications for UAS licenses on 1 October 2007.
However, Srivastava's deposition didn't seem to dampen Raja's mood. He, was his cheerful self in court today.
Raja faces the charge of entering into a conspiracy with Swan Telecom’s Shahid Balwa and Vinod Goenka and Unitech’s Sanjay Chandra to issues licenses to Swan Telecom and companies promoted by Unitech.
Examination of the Srivastava by the prosecution will resume next week.
The court today granted permission to Raja to visit Tamil Nadu till Sunday.