A. Raja (born May 10, 1963, Perambalur, Tamil Nadu, India) is an Indian politician from the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam(DMK) political party. He is a member of the 15th Lok Sabha representing the Nilgiris constituency of Tamil Nadu. Raja was first elected to the Lok Sabha in 1996 and first served as minister of state from 1999 to 2003.
On being re-elected to the Lok Sabha in 2004, he became a cabinet minister in the UPA government. In 2007, he became cabinet minister for communication and information technology. On being re-elected in 2009 he was again appointed cabinet minister for communication and information technology until being tainted in the 2G spectrum scam and resigning in 2010.
A. Raja Resignations
On October 17, 2008 he submitted his post-dated resignation to the D.M.K party chief M. Karunanidhi over the killings of Tamil civilians in Sri Lanka. His resignation was a part of the mass resignation of all the D.M.K ministers forming a part of the coalition UPA central government.
On November 14, 2010, he announced that he would step down from his cabinet post, over the 2G spectrum allocation scandal.
A. Raja Spectrum Scandal
The 2G spectrum financial scandal in the Telecommunications and IT Ministry under A.Raja is noteworthy as the largest political corruption case in modern Indian history, amounting to a record $40 billion loss from underpricing to the Government of India.
The alleged modus operandi was telecom bandwidth being grossly undervalued and offered to a chosen few with vested interests, on a dubious ‘First-Come-First-Served’ basis. It is alleged that it should have been put under a transparent auction system, purportedly advised by higher office.
The bandwidth-spectrum allocation of 2G bandwidth had later come under criticism for gross irregularities. An FIR filed by the CBI claims that the allocation was not done as per market prices, resulting in a scam worth 200 crore (US$43.4 million).
However it had been alleged by Arun Jaitley of Bhartiya Janata Party that the scam is worth around 176,000 crore (US$38.19 billion). The Comptroller and Auditor General holds Raja personally responsible for the sale of 2G spectrum at 2001 rates in 2008, resulting the previously mentioned loss of up to Rs. 1.76 lakh crores (US$40 billion) to the national exchequer.
In August, 2010, evidence was submitted by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) showing that Raja had personally signed and approved the majority of the questionable allocations.
Although the political opposition was demanding his resignation over the 2G spectrum scam, Raja initially refused to resign stating his innocence, and this view was backed by his party president M.Karunanidhi.
The financial scam eventually led to Raja’s resignation on the 14th of November, 2010. There will be further criminal investigation and action on Raja with reports being filed by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).