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CBI grills Raja at home

New Delhi, Dec. 10: The CBI today began grilling former telecom minister A. Raja at his Delhi residence on the 2G spectrum scam, after having “informally” quizzed him over the past two days, officials said.

A senior CBI official told The Telegraph that Raja was questioned at length along with others but agency bosses would not say whether any arrests were likely in the case.

“Our officials — five inspectors and sub-inspectors —went to his house and questioned him. He had been informally questioned when his premises were raided on Wednesday and also the next day,” he said.

“He is co-operating with us and we are recording his statements.”

The official claimed the CBI had discovered several details against the former DMK minister, from whose premises it had seized papers relating to his assets, including bank account documents.

“We have seized documents that directly link Raja to the spectrum scam. During the search, we got documents relating to hawala transactions by him through his Chennai-based business associate Sadiq Basha, a director of the real estate company Greenhouse Promoters,” the official claimed.

He said the agency had also found documents suggesting certain transactions between Basha’s firm and other telecom companies. The CBI is also probing Raja’s alleged “benami holdings” through his business associate.

CBI deputy inspector-general Vineeta Thakur said all the people whose houses were searched on Wednesday were being questioned but declined to name Raja.

“I do not want to take any individual’s name. The questioning is an ongoing process. Some people were also grilled today,” she said.

Asked if the agency might make arrests in the case, Thakur said: “At present our focus is on examining all the seized documents and recording the statements of people whose houses have been raided and would be raided. The stage of arresting anybody has not come yet.”

On Wednesday, the CBI had raided the premises of Raja, Basha and some of Raja’s former officials. “We have frozen their bank accounts and other documents relating to their assets. All the papers are being examined to ascertain whether a case of disproportionate wealth can be started against them,” a CBI official said.

The agency has also frozen the bank accounts of Raja’s wife, who is the legal adviser to Greenhouse Promoters.

Sources in the Enforcement Directorate, which is helping the CBI ascertain if money-laundering laws were violated in the sale of spectrum in 2008, claimed to have zeroed in on two hawala operators related to the scandal. “It’s only the tip of the iceberg,” an official said without giving details.

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