Former Union Telecommunications Minister and ex-Nilgiris DMK MP A. Raja, who was acquitted in the 2G spectrum allocation case, feels he was needlessly branded a criminal despite ushering in revolutionary measures in the telecom sector.
While not revealing much about the case since he is writing a book, A. Raja, the DMK’s articulate Dalit face, who is touring Coimbatore and Nilgiris, said on Thursday that his acquittal could be turned into a factor of strength for his party. Excerpts:
You must feel vindicated now that a special court has acquitted you of all charges relating to the 2G spectrum allocation case. How do you think public perception will change about the DMK now that you have been deemed to be innocent?
One among the reasons for the DMK’s electoral defeats was the 2G case. It is just one of the reasons, but not the sole reason. Now that I have been proven to be innocent, we can turn it into our strength.
How do you think that can happen?
What we did when I was the Telecom minister was nothing short of revolutionary. If a person who owns a mobile phone from the lowest social and economic segment, can access Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp, it’s all because of Raja and the DMK. Of course, 2G spectrum was available earlier, but nobody was able to make it affordable and accessible to the common man. Yet, I was branded a criminal.
Looking back at your term as Telecom minister, what structural changes did you bring in to make mobile telecommunications more accessible to the common man?
I wanted to break the cartel of the telecommunication giants, and I succeeded in doing so. I injected fresh competition, and because of that, tariffs came down and tele-density went up. Even the President of India, during the Presidential address referred to the unprecedented growth of the telecommunications sector when I was minister.
We were also responsible for the introduction of 3G and 4G spectrum. I will reveal more details surrounding the spectrum allocation and my term as telecommunications minister in a book which I plan to release in the coming weeks.
What do you think are the reasons for the DMK’s defeat in the R.K. Nagar byelections?
A committee has been formed by the party high command to analyse the reasons for the party’s defeat.
It would be premature for me to make comments based on conjecture. After the committee submits its report, the party high command will study the reasons and comment.
What do you think about expelled south zone organising secretary M.K. Alagiri’s comments regarding the DMK’s loss in the R.K. Nagar byelections?
You will need to ask the party leadership. I do not wish to comment.