Former India telco minister Raja seeks court order review

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Former Indian Telecommunications Minister Andimuthu Raja has approached the Supreme Court seeking a review of its order cancelling a 2008 telecom license sale overseen by him, saying the ruling could affect the outcome of a case in which he is the prime accused, one of his lawyers said Friday.

The former minister is accused of irregularities while allocating the licenses that a federal investigation agency says deprived the government $7 billion of potential revenue. He has pleaded not guilty. Raja is currently in jail, and the case is currently being heard by a special court set up under the orders of the Supreme Court.

Click here to find out more!In a related but separate case, the Supreme Court on Feb. 2 ordered scrapping of the licenses issued in 2008, saying that the first-come, first-served policy followed to allot them was “arbitrary and unconstitutional,” and provided scope for corruption. Raja has sought a review of the order also because some parts of the judgment linked him to the case, though he wasn’t heard for his views, the lawyer, who didn’t want to be named, told Dow Jones Newswires.

Raja, the telecom minister from May 2007 to November 2010, was also not a party to the case in the Supreme Court. The court order had said the telecom minister at that time had tweaked the rules between September 2007 and March 2008 and ignored many procedures, as he “wanted to favour some companies at the cost of the public exchequer.”

The court, however, had clarified that the observations made in the judgment shouldn’t affect investigations into the allotment of the licenses or “cause prejudice to those who are facing prosecution.”