Raja goes to Tihar Jail, looks calm (Second Lead)

Thursday, February 17, 2011

NEW DELHI - Former communications minister A. Raja, arrested in connection with the 2G spectrum allocation scam, was Thursday sent to Tihar Jail on 14 days judicial custody by a Delhi court. Wearing a dark grey safari suit, Raja looked calm and collected, his face betraying no emotion, as the order came.

Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Special Judge O.P. Saini, who sent him to judicial custody till March 3 as the investigation agency did not seek any further remand for interrogation, allowed Raja to have home-cooked food, his reading glasses and medicines in the jail.

Raja’s defence counsel Ramesh Gupta moved an application that the former minister be allowed to keep his medicines, reading glasses and books with him in Tihar Jail. He also requested that Raja be allowed to get home-cooked food.

Raja arrived at the jail in west Delhi in the evening, around 6 p.m. “He is in Jail No.1,” said Sunil Gupta, Tihar Jail spokesperson. Jail No.1 is meant for high-profile prisoners.

As the order came, Raja, who seemed very relaxed, shook hands with many of his supporters who had arrived in hordes to express their support for their leader. Most of his supporters have been thronging the court where the case has been heard.

Many of them were seen touching his feet and taking his blessing. One of his supporters had Raja’s photograph in his shirt pocket and said the minister is “our god”.

After the judge issued the order in the jam-packed courtroom, a posse of policemen led Raja away. He was kept in the lock-up along with petty criminals who were all waiting to be taken to Tihar Jail in the evening.

In the jail, he would be kept away from his former colleagues, former telecom secretary Siddharth Behura and Raja`s former personal secretary R.K. Chandolia. On Feb 8, they were also sent to 14 days of judicial custody, which is to end on Feb 22.

Raja was arrested Feb 2 for his alleged involvement in the 2G spectrum allocation scandal, which caused huge losses to the national exchequer, and remanded in CBI custody initially for five days.

Raja, a member of the DMK, is alleged to have sold spectrum licences at below market rates, causing a loss of Rs.22,000 crore to the national exchequer, according to the probe agency.

He was asked to resign Nov 14 last year after the Comptroller and Auditor General indicted him in the scam for causing the nation huge losses.

On Feb 8, his remand was extended for two more days after the agency told the court that he was not cooperating during questioning and was being evasive.

The former minister’s custody was extended by two more days Feb 10 on the CBI’s plea. Thereafter, on Feb 14 (Monday), the court again extended his custody with the CBI for three more days.

Filed under: Immigration

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