DMK to back Raja's request if issue comes up in UPA meeting
With ally DMK endorsing A Raja's wish to appear as a witness before the Joint Parliamentary Committee examining the 2G allocation and pricing of spectrum from 1998 to 2009, the Congress is finding itself in a fix. JPC Chairman P C Chacko, it is learnt, has decided to consult panel members before taking a call on summoning the former Telecom minister.
Raja has always argued that the Prime Minister's office was aware of the decisions regarding allocation of spectrum licenses. His deposition, therefore, could be used by the Opposition to mount a fresh attack on the government. DMK members in the panel, T R Baalu and Tiruchi Shiva, have demanded that both Raja and Shahid Balwa of Swan Telecom be summoned.
DMK leaders Sunday said Raja's request to Speaker Meira Kumar to direct the JPC to summon him as a witness has the party's backing. Party leaders said they will convey this to the Congress leadership, if consulted. The UPA coordination committee is slated to meet on Tuesday. "The party endorses his request...It is a genuine request. He has been accused of certain charges. He has to defend himself. He has to depose before the committee as he has the right to defend himself. The JPC has already summoned the Telecom secretary...Raja should also be called...The report of the JPC will be incomplete otherwise," said DMK spokesperson T K S Elangovan.