2G: Court Lets Raja Visit Tamil Nadu
Former Telecom Minister A Raja, facing trial in the 2G spectrum allocation case, was today allowed by a Delhi court to visit Tamil Nadu till November 25 from tomorrow.

Special CBI Judge O P Saini gave Raja permission to visit Tamil Nadu on his plea, after it was not opposed by the CBI.

The court also allowed the plea of Swan Telecom promoter and 2G case accused Vinod Goenka to visit Sri Lanka from November 26 to November 28 for business purposes.

Raja sought permission to visit his native place because the court, while granting him bail on May 15 this year, had stipulated that he would not visit his home state without its prior permission.

"Accused A Raja has filed an application for permission to visit Tamil Nadu from November 23 till the night of November 25, 2012.

"Senior Public Prosecutor has no objection to the prayer. Prayer allowed. Accused A Raja is permitted to visit Tamil Nadu...," the judge said.

The court had granted bail to the 49-year-old DMK MP and had directed him not to visit the Department of Telecom (DoT), which he hade presided over as minister, and not to make any inducement, threat or promise, either directly or indirectly, to any person linked to the case.

Raja, along with DMK MP Kanimozhi and others, is facing trial for offences punishable under various provisions of the IPC and the Prevention of Corruption Act dealing with offences of criminal conspiracy, cheating, forgery, faking documents, abusing official position, criminal misconduct by public servant and taking bribe.

During the day's proceeding, the court also recorded the statement of prosecution witness Madan Chaurasia, an under secretary in the Ministry of Culture.

Chaurasia, who was posted as a section officer in the DoT from 2005 to 2011, told the court that the process of issuance of letters of intent (LoIs) to the telecom firms on January 10, 2008 was "fair" and "transparent".

During his cross examination by the defence counsel, he said, "It is correct that the LoIs/rejection letters were distributed in fair and transparent manner and there was no discrimination against any applicant. No senior officer asked me either to speed up or slow down the process."

Chaurasia, whose recording of statement concluded today, said on January 10, 2008 when he reached DoT office, he was told by senior officials that LoIs were to be distributed to the telecom firms on that day itself.

He also told the court that during 2007-08, the DoT had processed 232 applications for Unified Access Service Licence.

The CBI, in its charge sheet, had alleged that "the distribution of LoIs was not in first-come-first-served (FCFS) manner and the wilful design of such distribution resulted into disorderly manner of priority."

The agency had also said the "ill-conceived" design of establishing four counters to distribute LoIs to telecom companies made a "mockery" of the FCFS policy.

It had also alleged that Raja, in conspiracy with other accused, had manipulated the FCFS policy to favour some telecom firms.
Emerging story. Watch this space for updates as more details come in
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