CBI raids Radia, Raja’s relatives over spectrum row (Second Lead)

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

NEW DELHI - The CBI Wednesday raided the homes and offices of business lobbyist Niira Radia, former telecom regulatory chief Pradeep Baijal and relatives of former communications minister A. Raja over the 2G spectrum row.

In a coordinated operation, Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) officials searched the New Delhi homes and offices of Radia, whose intercepted telephonic conversations showed her lobbying for Raja when a new government came in last year.

CBI Deputy Inspector General of Police Vinita Thakur told IANS that officials landed up at Radia’s Sainik Farms house in south Delhi as well as her plush office on Barakhamba Road in the heart of the city in the morning.

“The raids started early today (Wednesday),” Thakur told IANS. “They will continue as long as needed. We hope to give out further details by evening.”

CBI officials also stormed the New Delhi house of Baijal as well as 27 places belonging to the relatives of Raja in Tamil Nadu.

A prominent DMK leader, Raja was forced to exit from Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s government last month over charges that he sold second generation spectrum at below market rates, causing huge losses to the exchequer.

The controversy hit the roof following the leak of a large number of Radia’s telephonic intercepts that showed her lobbying for Raja while talking to leading industrialists and journalists when Manmohan Singh was preparing to form a Congress-led government in May last year.

Wednesday’s CBI raids came days after parliament’s winter session ended in fiasco in the wake of opposition protests demanding a joint parliamentary probe into the 2G spectrum scam. The government has rejected the demand.

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