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Raja defiant, rules out resignation

By The Assam Tribune

NEW DELHI/CHENNAI, Nov 14 � All eyes were riveted on tomorrow�s Supreme Court hearing on the 2G Spectrum scam allegedly involving Telecom Minister A Raja who remained defiant today ruling out his resignation from the Government.

�There is no question of me resigning and there is no need for it,� he told reporters at the Chennai airport before leaving for Delhi this evening.

Pressed further whether he was going to put in his papers, Paja said, �There is nothing like that. CM (M Karunanidhi) has not told me anything (about resigning).�

On a day speculation was rife that Raja�s exit from the Union Cabinet was inevitable, the top Congress leadership met in Delhi and discussed the issue anticipating uproar in Parliament by the opposition which has been demanding his removal.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, party president Sonia Gandhi and senior leaders Pranab Mukherjee and Ahmad Patel, political secretary to the Congress chief, attended the meeting amid growing view in the party that Raja�s continuance in office has become untenable and that he must go.

The opposition has been demanding removal of Raja after the government auditor CAG is believed to have indicted the minister for not distributing 2G Spectrum in a transparent manner resulting in a revenue loss of over Rs.1.76 lakh crore.

On his part, Mukherjee refused to comment on the Spectrum controversy, saying whatever has to be said will be stated in Parliament.

�Parliament is in session. Whatever needs to be said on Telecom Minister A Raja, will be said in Parliament,� he told reporters on the sidelines of a function in New Delhi.

Raja, who has struck a defiant note asserting there was no question of his resigning from the Government, met Karunanidhi in Chennai today for the second time in 24 hours.

He met the DMK chief at the latter�s residence and the two are understood to have discussed during the 30-minute meeting the implications of the CAG report on the alleged scam. Former Union Minister and senior DMK leader T R Baalu is also understood to have been present during the meeting.

A decision on Raja�s fate is expected to come after the Supreme Court hearing tomorrow on two petitions, one filed by an NGO, CPIL and another by Janata Party leader Subramanian Swamy, alleging Rs 70,000 crore corruption in the entire Spectrum allocation.

During the last hearing on October 29, the Supreme Court had slammed the CBI for its �slipshod� investigations into the 2G Spectrum allocation issue and even wondered how Raja was continuing in office.

The Telecom ministry has claimed that new licenses and 2G Spectrum was distributed as per the existing policy which were followed by all the predecessors of Raja.

Karunanidhi�s daughter Kanimozhi, a Rajya Sabha MP, dismissed speculation that she may replace Raja. �You are talking to a Member of Parliament who will continue to be an MP,� she said on being asked about her replacing Raja.

Kanimozhi, Textile Minister Dayanidhi Maran, DMK Leader and former Union Shipping Minister T R Baalu are also heading for Delhi in separate flights.

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Raja defiant, rules out resignation

NEW DELHI/CHENNAI, Nov 14 � All eyes were riveted on tomorrow�s Supreme Court hearing on the 2G Spectrum scam allegedly involving Telecom Minister A Raja who remained defiant today ruling out his resignation from the Government.

�There is no question of me resigning and there is no need for it,� he told reporters at the Chennai airport before leaving for Delhi this evening.

Pressed further whether he was going to put in his papers, Paja said, �There is nothing like that. CM (M Karunanidhi) has not told me anything (about resigning).�

On a day speculation was rife that Raja�s exit from the Union Cabinet was inevitable, the top Congress leadership met in Delhi and discussed the issue anticipating uproar in Parliament by the opposition which has been demanding his removal.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, party president Sonia Gandhi and senior leaders Pranab Mukherjee and Ahmad Patel, political secretary to the Congress chief, attended the meeting amid growing view in the party that Raja�s continuance in office has become untenable and that he must go.

The opposition has been demanding removal of Raja after the government auditor CAG is believed to have indicted the minister for not distributing 2G Spectrum in a transparent manner resulting in a revenue loss of over Rs.1.76 lakh crore.

On his part, Mukherjee refused to comment on the Spectrum controversy, saying whatever has to be said will be stated in Parliament.

�Parliament is in session. Whatever needs to be said on Telecom Minister A Raja, will be said in Parliament,� he told reporters on the sidelines of a function in New Delhi.

Raja, who has struck a defiant note asserting there was no question of his resigning from the Government, met Karunanidhi in Chennai today for the second time in 24 hours.

He met the DMK chief at the latter�s residence and the two are understood to have discussed during the 30-minute meeting the implications of the CAG report on the alleged scam. Former Union Minister and senior DMK leader T R Baalu is also understood to have been present during the meeting.

A decision on Raja�s fate is expected to come after the Supreme Court hearing tomorrow on two petitions, one filed by an NGO, CPIL and another by Janata Party leader Subramanian Swamy, alleging Rs 70,000 crore corruption in the entire Spectrum allocation.

During the last hearing on October 29, the Supreme Court had slammed the CBI for its �slipshod� investigations into the 2G Spectrum allocation issue and even wondered how Raja was continuing in office.

The Telecom ministry has claimed that new licenses and 2G Spectrum was distributed as per the existing policy which were followed by all the predecessors of Raja.

Karunanidhi�s daughter Kanimozhi, a Rajya Sabha MP, dismissed speculation that she may replace Raja. �You are talking to a Member of Parliament who will continue to be an MP,� she said on being asked about her replacing Raja.

Kanimozhi, Textile Minister Dayanidhi Maran, DMK Leader and former Union Shipping Minister T R Baalu are also heading for Delhi in separate flights.

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