CBI Seeks Sanction To Prosecute Senior DMK Leader And Former Union Minister A Raja In Disproportionate Assets Case

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The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has sought sanction to prosecute senior Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) leader and former Union Minister A Raja in a disproportionate asset case.

Raja was charged with acquiring disproportionate assets of Rs. 27.92 crore through his relatives and close associates from 1999 to 2010.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has sought sanction to prosecute senior Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) leader and former Union Minister A Raja in a disproportionate asset case.

The Hindu quoted a senior CBI official as saying that the request seeking sanction to prosecute Raja was sent to the authorities concerned in February.

In 2015, the CBI filed a disproportionate assets case against former Telecom Minister A. Raja, his wife and 15 others including his wife, Parameswari (now deceased), nephew Parmesh Kumar, close associate C. Krishnamurthy and Reha Banu, wife of another close associate, Sadiq Basha, formerly Director of Green House Promoters Pvt. Ltd, who allegedly committed suicide.

Raja was charged with acquiring disproportionate assets of Rs. 27.92 crore through his relatives and close associates from 1999 to 2010.

The CBI investigation had revealed that several relatives and associates of Raja clocked “exponential” financial growth during the period in question without having requisite wherewithal. While perusing details of a property sold in Chennai, investigators found that the classification of a piece of land owned by the accused along the Old Mahabalipuram Road was converted from aqua zone to residential zone and sold at an exorbitant price to a property developer.

CBI also alleged that Raja and other accused persons have amassed assets, including immovable properties, through various companies including Green House Promoters, Kovai Shelters Promoters and Shivakamam Trading Pvt. Ltd. These firms were managed by close relatives and associates of Raja.

CBI case pertains to the period when he held office in various Union Ministries across 2 difeerent regimes. Raja, whop was elected to the Lok Sabha for the first time in 1996 from Perambalur Lok Sabha constituency, was elevated as Union Minister of State for Rural Development from October 1999 to September 2000 in the BJP led National Democratic Alliance( NDA) government. In Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government, Raja served Union Minister of Environment and Forests.

Raja was allocated the Communications and Information Technology portfolio in May 2007 after family feud within DMK resulted in the ouster of Dayanidhi Maran from the Union Ministry. Raja subsequently retained the portfolio when UPA returned to power.

During this tenure as Telecom minister, Raja was accused to selling 2G spectrum licenses at a very low cost which resulted in the loss of ₹176,000 crore (US$25 billion) on Indian Government.

Raja was forced to quit UPA government in Nov 2010 over corruption allegations.

In 2011, the results of an investigation by retired judge Shivraj Patil, who was appointed by then telecom minister Kapil Sibal, also found Raja to have been directly responsible for "procedural lapses" regarding the sale.[28] The CBI and Enforcement Directorate estimated that Raja could have made as much as Rs 30 billion from the alleged bribes.[29]

Raja was subsequently booked by CBI under multiple counts including criminal breach of trust by a public servant (section 409), criminal conspiracy (Section 120-B), cheating (Section 420) and forgery (Sections 468 and 471); booked under the Prevention of Corruption Act for accepting illegal gratification.

CBI in its chargesheet accused Raja of getting Swan's Shahid Balwa to invest in Rs 200 crore into Kalaignar TV Pvt Ltd, a company controlled by some members of the DMK's first family.

Raja was arrested on Feb 2011 and was the last among the 14 accused, to get bail from the trial court on May 2012.

On 21 December 2017, the special court in New Delhi acquitted all accused in the 2G spectrum case including prime accused A Raja and Kanimozhi.

CBI and Enforcement Directorate (ED) have challenged the special court acquittal in the Delhi High Court.

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