A Raja treated like every other prisoner at Tihar, sleeps on floor

New Delhi, February 18 (PTI): Former telecom minister A Raja had jail food, slept on the floor during his first night in Tihar prisons and was up at 6.00am today to attend the roll call like any other prisoner. The 47-year-old high-profile inmate of Jail No1, arrested for his alleged role in the 2G spectrum allocation scam, is mostly keeping to himself, a senior jail official said.
“The former minister did not hesitate to eat food cooked inside the prison kitchens. He ate rice, dal, rajma and vegetables in dinner. He was provided seven blankets to make his bed on the floor and did now throw any tantrums,” he said, adding Raja was not given any special treatment. The minister is sharing the ward with former Delhi ACP SS Rathi, convicted in the 1997 Connaught Place shootout case, and other prisoners. Rathi is serving life term following his conviction by a Delhi trial court on October 24, 2007 in the case of killing of twobusinessmen.
“Raja followed the prison rules and woke up at 6.00am today. He went through all the English dailies before having his morning tea. He did not interact with any prisoner after entering his ward and kept reading,” the official said. But today, he went out of his cell for a stroll inside the prison premises. He spoke to Ravi Kant Sharma, who is serving a life sentence for the murder of journalist Shivani Bhatnagar, the official said. After sustained custodial interrogation for 14 days at the CBI headquarters, Raja was yesterday sent to Tihar Jail under judicial custody by a Delhi court till March 3.
Raja, who resigned in November last year following uproar over the scam, was arrested on February 2 along with former Telecom Secretary Siddharth Behura and his former personal secretary RK Chandolia for their alleged role in 2G spectrum allocation scam, which, as per CBI, has caused a pecuniary loss of Rs22,000 crore to the state exchequer. The former minister is alleged to have manipulated rules to favour some telecom companies, including Swan Telecom and Unitech Private Limited, in allocation of the spectrum at throwaway prices.
 
JPC decision by next week: Govt
 
NEW Delhi, February 18 (PTI): Indicating formation of a Joint Parliamentary Committee to probe the 2G spectrum scam, government on Friday appeared to rule out widening its ambit to cover other scandals. Parliamentary affairs minister P K Bansal gave such a hint at a press conference ahead of the three-month long Budget session beginning from Monday. A decision on setting up a JPC would be taken by Wednesday, he said.
After indications emerged that the UPA government may agree to formation of the JPC to probe the 2G scam, an issue which had derailed the entire winter session of Parliament, BJP has been talking of inclusion of the Commonwealth Games scandal and the Adarsh Housing scam also in its ambit. Bansal said that discussions with Opposition on the issue of JPC are “moving forward” and expressed the hope that the Budget Session will “run smoothly”. “It is a premature question at the moment. We are still in the process of discussing with other political parties.....A decision will be taken by wednesday,”, Bansal said when asked whether Government has decided to go in for a JPC.
The demand for widening the ambit of the is unlikely to be conceded as the rules of Parliamentary procedure do not allow such a clubbing of various issues under an umbrella resolution. Bansal sought to reject the demand for a combined JPC into the 2G scam, Commonwealth Games scandal and Adarsh Housing scam. To a query on the possibility of Prime Minister being called by the JPC to appear before it, Bansal said that in such an eventuality, the Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar will have to decide whether to allow it. “The decision of the Speaker will be final”.


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