A former senior DoT official today told a Delhi court trying the 2G spectrum allocation case that he had recommended transfer of two officials of the department for their "disobedience" and also because of the "pressure" from the then Telecom Minister A Raja's erstwhile Private Secretary R K Chandolia.
R P Agarwal, a retired Wireless Advisor of Department of Telecom (DoT), said there was pressure from Chandolia to put up the file for Delhi service area but when R J S Kushvaha and D Jha, DoT's then Joint Wireless Advisor and Deputy Wireless Advisor respectively, refused to do so, Chandolia had told him that these two officials should be transferred.
The CBI, in its charge sheet, had alleged that Chandolia and then Telecom Secretary Siddhartha Behura, also an accused, had "caused the transfer of two concerned officers of WPC, who were not prepared to tow their line" on August 25, 2008.
During his cross examination by Chandolia's counsel Vijay Aggarwal, the witness said the main reason which led to the transfer of these two officials was their disobedience and also to save them from disciplinary action.
"I recommended the transfers suo motu as well as on the pressure of the office of the minister as these two officers (Jha and Kushvaha) were not complying with the orders.
"...It is correct that completion of tenure in the DoT was one of the reasons leading to transfer of the two officers, but their disobedience was the main reason and (it was done) also to save them from disciplinary action," he told Special CBI Judge O P Saini.
On being asked by CBI prosecutor what "prevented" him for warding off the pressure by Chandolia, the witness replied, "In my opinion what I was putting up was correct, so I put up the note. I also obeyed Chandolia as he was conveying the orders of the office of minister."
During recording of statement, which concluded today, Agarwal said Chandolia had been asking him to put up the file for allocation of 2G spectrum in Delhi service area since mid-August 2008.
Agarwal told the court, "There was pressure from minister's Private Secretary R K Chandolia to put up the file for Delhi service area.... From middle of August 2008, Chandolia started asking me to put up the file for Delhi service area.
"First I kept telling him that file was being put up, but when R J S Kushvaha and D Jha refused to put up the file, I apprised him of the situation. Then R K Chandolia told me that these two officials should be transferred," he said.
Agarwal deposed that Kushvaha and Jha were asked to put up the file for allocation of spectrum in the Delhi service area but they had refused to do so saying there was no clarity on inter-se seniority between dual technology applicants and the new licencees.
He said after Chandolia told him that these two officials should be transferred, he had tried to make Kushvaha and Jha understand the situation and also supplied them with the criteria and asked them to put up the file, but they did "not listen" to him.
Agarwal said the then telecom secretary had approved the proposal for transfer of Kushvaha and Jha on August 25, 2008.
Raja, Behura and Chandolia, along with others, are facing trial on various charges like cheating, criminal conspiracy, forgery and faking documents under the Indian Penal Code and those of abusing official position, getting bribe and criminal misconduct by public servant under the Prevention of Corruption Act.
The offences entail punishment ranging from six months in jail to life imprisonment.
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